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[The right of publishing a French Translation of this tcork is reserved] 


A Work of this kind tells its own story so plainly, 
that little prefatory remark need be made in the 
shape of explanation or apology. I was requested 
to write the Life of Henry St.George Tucker ; 
and believing that a Memoir of one, who throughout 
the space of half a century took no unimportant 
part iix many of the great transactions of Indian 
history, and who, in his participation in those trans- 
actions, “ did all like a man,” would contribute 
much both in the way of historical information and 
personal example to the general stock of “ things 
worth knowing,” I undertook to write it ; and the 
present volume is the result of my endeavors. 

I wish, however, to add, that for the publication 
of whatsoever the Memoir contains, I, and I alone, 
am responsible. It is based entirely on materials 
derived from private sources. I have not received 
the smallest assistance from any public body or any 
official person. If there be anything in this volume 
which ought mot to be there, the indiscretion is 
mine. I believe, however, that the faults of the 
work are rather those of omission than commission. 
Certainly fthey are in my own eyes. If any (me 
should think that I have inserted too much, and 
reproach me for the insertion, I would beg him to 
believe, that ,in consideration for what is called 
“ public convenience” — a great inconvenience, be it 



said, to the Public — and what really is private 
feeling, I have forborne even more than I have 

What’s done ye partly may compute — 

But know not what’s resisted. 

It would have been egotistical and presumptuous 
in me to have said even this much, upon the cir- 
cumstances under which the present work has been 
written, if it had not been that, on a recent occasion, 
these personal circumstances were much mis-stated 
both in Parliament and by the Press ; and a great 
Public Body identified with what was in reality but 
a private undertaking. And, however willing I 
may be, in all cases where others have assisted me, 
to share with them the praise that may be con- 
sidered my due, I wish to keep the blame undi- 
videdly to myself ; and to be held solely responsible 
for all the revelations that are made, and all the 
opinions that are ^expressed, in any book that bears 
my*name upon its title. 

I have but one word more to say, personal to my- 
self. On looking over the sheets of this work, it 
appears to me that there is, in some parts, what 
may seem to be a party bias — in other words, a dis- 
position to speak more slightingly of the acts of the 
old Whig party than those of their opponents. As 
the supposition that I have written at all under 
political influence would, very properly, invalidate 
my testimony, I think it right to say, that ever since 
I was a boy my sympathies have been all with the 
Whigs, and that if this has not appeared in the 
writings which bear my name, it is because I have 
ever held that “ India is of no Party,” and esteemed 
the claims of Historical Truth paramount over all 
considerations of Party or of Person. , 

London, January , 1854. 




Birth and Parentage of Henry St.George Tucker — The Bruere and 
Tucker Families — Early Life in Bermuda— Departure for England — 
Schoolboy Days— Embarkation for India— Midshipman Life— Arrival 
at Calcutta 1 


Early Indian Life of Henry St.George Tucker— Residence with Mr. 
Bruere — Departure for Gyah — Residence with Mr. Law — Mr. Law 
and the Mocurrery System— Appointment to the Secretary’s Office- 
Loss of his first Earnings— Appointed Assistant to the Commercial 
Agent at Commercolly— Residence at Hurriaul— Early Writings — 
Opinion on the Land Assessment — On Excise and Gunge Duties 35 


Appointment of H. St.George Tucker to the Covenanted Civil Service — 
Employed in the Accountant-General’s Department— State of the 
Civil Service — The Administration of Sir John Shore — Mr. Tucker 
appointed Register in Raj shy e — His Intimacy with Henry Colebrooke 
— Appointed to the Secretariat — Rise in the Department— Arrival of 
Lord Wellesley— Mr. Tucker’s Services— Visit to Madras— Anecdotes 
of Lord Wellesley— Return to Calcutta— Appointed Accountant- 
General 74 


State of the Public Finances— Public Credit— Mr. Tucker’s Measures— 
Plan of a New Bank— Reduction of Interest— New Loans— Improve- 
ment of Public Credit— Connexion with Palmer’s House — Mr. Tucker’s 
Double Duties— Continued Financial Improvement 104 



CHAPTER V. page 

Retirement from Official Life-Government Testimonial— Mr. Tucker’s 
Mercantile Life— Opinions of his Friends — Conduct of Lord Wellesley 
— Admiral Bergeret — His Friendship with Mr. Tucker — Departure of 
Lord Wellesley— Anecdotes of his Staff— Thoughts of Home 142 


Arrival of Lord Cornwallis — State of Public Affairs — Condition of the 
Finances— Death of Cornwallis — Succession of Sir G. Barlow — Mr. 
Tucker re-appointed Accountant-General— Financial Measures — 
Their Unpopularity — Correspondence with Sir G. Barlow and Others — 
Financial Results 161 


The Settlement of the Ceded and Conquered Provinces — The Special 
Commission of 1807 — Mr. Tucker’s Appointment — His Colleagues — 
Duties of the New Commission— Their Reception in Upper India— Mr. 
Tucker’s Report 212 


Mr. Tucker’s Resignation of the Commissionership — His Return to Cal- 
cutta— Letters to his Family — Projected Visit to England — Appoint- 
ment to the Secretaryship in the Public Department — Death of his 
Father; of his two Brothers — Letters to his Sister and Mother — 
Embarkation for England— Public Testimonials 234 


Mr. Tucker’s Reception in England— Meeting with his Mother— Visit to 
Mr. Carre — Miss Boswell— Mr. Tucker’s Marriage— His Wedding-Tour 
— Recognition of his Services — His intended Return to India — The 
"Voyage to Calcutta ......... m. 



Return to India— The Financial Secretaryship— The Seat in Council- 
Want of Money at Home— Bullion-supplies — Correspondence with Sir 
Hugh Inglia — Mr. Tucker’s Measures— Scarcity of Money in India- 
Correspondence with Mr. Davis— Death of Mr. Tucker’s Mother— The 
Chief-Secretaryship— Return to England 268 


Residence in Edinburgh— Journey to London — Adventures on the Hoad 
— Residence in London— -Excursion in Wales— Visit to Ireland— 
Thoughts of Public Life 298 


• • 

CHAPTER Xn. page 

Mr. Tucker’s Departure from Scotland — “ Starting for the Direction” — 
Constitution of the Court of Directors — The Canvas*—Candidates and. 
Voters — The “City Interest”— The “West-India Interest” — Mr* 
Tucker’s Defeat — Renewal of the Canvass— His Election— Incidents 
of Private Life »• ••• *r«Mi • • • •••« 325 


Mr. Tucker in the Direction— His peculiar Qualifications— His Zeal and 
Activity— Early Efforts— Questions of Land Revenue— Resumption 
Operations— Salt and Opium Revenues— The Company’s Charter— Ne- 
gotiations with the Board of Control— Mr. Tuckers Minutes 356 


The Court of Directors and the Board of Control— Powers of the Board — 
Collisions between the Two Authorities— The Case of William Palmer 
and Co.— Mr. Tucker’s Dissent — The Writ of Mandamus— Conduct of 
the Court— The Case of the Lucknow Bankers— Firmness of the Court 
— Conduct of Mr. Tucker— The Mandamus Stayed 385 


The “Chairs” — Mr. Tucker elected Deputy- Chairman— Succession to 
the Chair — The Bombay Government — Appointment of Mr. Robert 
Grant — The Governor-General— Nomination of Sir Charles Metcalfe 
—Appointment of Lord Heytesbury— Its Revocation— Appointment of 
Lord Auckland — Mr. Tucker’s Remonstrances — Speech at the King’s 
Table /. 433 


Mr. Tucker’s Private Correspondence — Letters to Mr. Blunt — Mr. 
Charles Grant — Mountstuart Elphinstone — Lord William Bentinck — 

Sir Charles Metcalfe and Others ,* 470 


The War in Afghanistan— Our Relations with the Persian Court— Re- 
sistance of Russia an European Question — The Tripartite Treaty — 

Mr. Tucker’s Letters to the Duke of Wellington and Others — His 
Opinions on the Afghan War and the Conquest of Scinde — Recall of 
Lord Ellenborough 489 


Mr. Tucker’s Domestic Life — His Second Chairmanship — Appointment 
of Lord Dalhousie — Mr. Tucker’s Farewell Address — Public Enter- 
tainments — Correspondence with Prince Waldemar of Prussia — Din- 
ners to Lord Dalhousie and Lord Hardinge — Patronage— Official 
Duties 529 




Mr. Tucker’s Private Correspondence during his Second Chairman- 
ship— letters to Lord Qardinge; to Sir T. H. Maddock; to Mr. George 
Clerk; to Mr. Thomason; and to Lord Dalhousie 561 


Mr. Tucker and Lord George Bentinck— The Sugar Duties Committee— 

The Navigation Laws — His Private Life and Habits— Illness and Re- 
covery — Letter to his Children— Projected Retirement from Office — 
Address to his Constituency — His last Illness— His Death— Character 
of Henry St George Tucker 588 







Birth and Parentage of Henry St.George Tucker — The Bruere and Tucker 
Families — Early Life in Bermuda — Departure for England — Schoolboy 
Days — Embarkation for India — Midshipman Life — Arrival at Calcutta. 

Henry St.George Tucker was bom on the 15tb 
of February, 1771. On that one of the Bermudian 
group of islands which is known as St. George’s 
he first saw the light. His father was a man of 
distinguished reputation and high official position 
in the Bermudas, who afterwards came to occupy, 
on two occasions, the Presidential chair. 

His mother was a Miss Bruere, daughter of 
George James Bruere, who, for some years before 
and after her marriage, was Governor of the Ber- 
mudas. Of this Governor Bruere the colonial 
annalists relate that he was a man of an irascible 
temper and overbearing disposition, living and 
ruling in a perpetual state of antagonism with the 
Assembly and the People. He was a soldier, and a 




good one ; but he was habituated to command, and 
impatient of opposition. In spite, however, of the 
intestine strife into which he plunged the islands, 
he governed them for nearly twenty years, and 
might have governed them still longer, but that, in 
the very crisis of the warfare, he was suddenly re- 
moved by death. He died on the 10th of September, 
1780, like a soldier, at his post.”* 

The Brueres and the Tuckers, it would seem, were 
at one time not knit very closely together. There 
were differences of opinion on vital questions to dis- 
sever and distract. There is no animosity so viru- 
lent as that which grows up in small insular com- 
munities, when party feeling breeds real personal 
warfare as bitter as it is abiding. The Brueres were 
staunch royalists — of a soldierly stock, loyal to 
the core; whilst the Tuckers were not without 
strong republican sympathies — sympathies which the 
American war was even then bringing into vigorous 
action. The two families were thus divided; but 
Henry Tucker, when he married Frances Bruere, 
had not to make his election between them. Of 
moderate views and a conciliatory disposition, he re- 
mained cherished and respected by both parties; 
and his sons, as they grew up at his knees, found 
neutral ground before them, and planted there the 
royalist or the rebel standard, each according to 
the promptings of his childish fancy. George, his 
second son, grew up a royalist, and dwelt much at 
Government House ; whilst the heart of Henry St.- 

* Williams' Historical and Statistical Account of the Bermudas. 



George, the subject of this memoir, inclined towards 
the republican cause. His home was at Port Royal, 
where was the estate of the Tuckers; and there 
“rebel councils prevailed.” Whether this residence 
in either case, or in both, was the cause or the effect 
of these early tendencies, I do not pretend to know. 

But of these remote family incidents the bio- 
grapher has little need to speak. In his seventieth 
year, Henry St. George Tucker wrote, for the amuse- 
ment of his children, the story of his boyish days. It 
would ill become me to substitute anything of my 
own for such an autobiography as this. Unhappily 
it is but a fragment. It treats of the Tucker and 
Bruere families — of the childish experiences of young 
Henry St.George in his island birthplace — of his 
schoolboy days in England — and of his voyage to 
India, as a neglected midshipman. But of the life 
of the man Tucker there is no record from his pen, 
beyond that which is to be gathered from scattered 
passages in his correspondence. The autobiography 
can illustrate only the opening chapter of the me- 
moir. It is “ a monument of a purpose unac- 

Of his family, both upon the father’s and the 
mother’s side, he has given us this account : 

“I was bom, I am told, on the 15th February, 1771. I 

was the first-born of ten sons and one daughter My 

parents on both sides were of gentle blood. My paternal ances- 

* Mr. Tucker seems to have projected — not, however, for publication a 
complete memoir of his life, with some account of his cotemporaries* Many 
will sympathise with the strong feelings of regret entertained by the bio- 
grapher, when they peruse the following passage taken from the brief intro- 



tors possessed landed property in Kent and Northamptonshire; 
and I still retain a few hereditary acres in the former county;* 
but why they emigrated to the little island of Bermuda (where 
they also possessed landed property), I never happened to learn. 
I know that I had two grandfathers; and beyond this fact, 
curiosity never impelled me to penetrate into the mazes of 

“ My grandfather, Henry Tucker, was one of the finest 
models of a man I have ever seen. Even at the age of seventy, 
when I last saw him, his person was erect, combining the ele- 
ments of strength and activity — his step was firm and elastic — 
his eye brilliant and full of the fire of youth — and his proud 
carriage would seem to have pointed him out as a descendant 
of the Great Mogul, or at least of the Plantagenets, or Tudors. 
He had eight children. He loved the animated life of London, 
where he resided as agent of the island; but, by preferring 
the noise and bustle of Gerrard-street, Soho, to the verdant 
lawns and cedar groves of Port Royal, his country residence in 
Bermuda, f he did not, I fear, add to his paternal acres. 

duction to tho fragment extant, and remember that the autobiographer 
has only carried down the narrative to the commencement of his sixteenth 
year. “I may add,” wrote Mr. Tucker in 1840 , “ that in sketching my past 
life, I shall have an opportunity of paying a just tribute of respect to those 
benefactors and friends whom I have loved, and whose friendship and regard 
have been to me the source of infinite gratification. I have been much in the 
way of observing men who have distinguished themselves in public life, and 
whose names will appear in history ; and as I am habitually an attentive ob- 
server of character, I may from time to time be able lo give some sketches of 
those eminent persons which will at least be interesting to my own family — I 
allude more particularly to my early patron, Sir William Jones, the good 
Lord Cornwallis, Sir John Shore, Henry Colebrooko, Lords Minto, Hastings, 
and others.” It need scarcely be added that such a memoir would not only 
have been perused with avidity by all Mr. Tucker’s friends and cotemporaries, 
but would have afforded a contribution to authentic history, the value and 
the interest of which it would be difficult to over-estimate. 

* At Crayford. There is a vault, at Milton, in Kent, which formerly be- 
longed to the Tucker family. 

f “ 1 The still vexed Bermoothes,’ ” writes Mr. Tucker, “ is a beautiful little 
island, or rather cluster of islands, extending about twenty miles from east to 
west, and about three from north to south. The Governor’s residence was, 
in my time, at St. George’s, near the eastern extremity of the cluster; but 



“ My father, his eldest son, was an accomplished gentleman 
in the best sense of the word, and in every sense of the word. 
I remember to have been present at a very earnest disputation, 
at the table of General C., on the proper signification of the 
term 4 a perfect gentleman.’ Some maintained that polished 
manners, an elegant address, and that ease and grace which 

the seat of government has been since removed to 1 Hamilton/ centrically 
situated in the principal island. 4 Port Royal/ a sweet secluded country seat 
of my grandfather Tucker, was in the western part of the island. The great 
disadvantage of Bermuda arises from the circumstance of its being subject to 
violent storms. I recollect a terrific hurricane, which produced the most 
fearful devastation. I remember, too, to have seen a ball of fire, or electric 
discharge, which shivered the mast of a ship, and cast one of the fragments 
within a few yards of the portico of our house, where some of the family were 
assembled. Bermuda has never, I believe, been captured; an impunity which 
it owes, perhaps, quite as much to its coral-reefs as to the valor of its de- 
fenders. The French fleet made a demonstration off the island during the 
administration of my grandfather; but it did not venture to make an attack. 
Our poverty may, perhaps, have saved us. Although so young when I left 
the island, I well remember its scenery and localities, and have surprised 
some of my countrymen by my accurate delineation of its topography. I 
owe this knowledge, no doubt, to my frequent excursions on horseback. 

44 ‘Bermuda, parent of my early days! 

To thee belong my tributary lays; 

In thy blest clime, secured from infant harms, 

A tender mother pressed me in her arms— 

Lulled me to rest with many a ditty rare, 

And looked, and smiled upon her infant care — 

She taught ray lisping accents how to flow, 

And bade the virtues in my bosom glow. 

Hail! Nature’s darling spot, enchanted isle! 

Where vernal blooms in sweet succession smile — 

Where, cherished by the fostering sea-born gale, 

Appears the tall Palmetto of the vale — 

The rich banana, tenant of the shade, 

With leaf broad-spreading, to the breeze displayed. 

The fragrant lime— the lemon at its side, 

And golden orange, fair Hesperia’s pride — 

The memorable* tree of aspect bold 

Which graced thy plains, oh Lebanus ! of old/ ” &c. &c. 


* The cedar is the most valuable product of the island, and is used in 
building our fast-sailing vessels. 



can only be found in the best society, constituted the main ele- 
ments in the character. Others contended that a high spirit, a 
cultivated taste, superior accomplishments, and a finished edu- 
cation, were indispensable requisites. Many names were brought 
forward by way of example, but they were all rejected in con- 
sequence of some attribute being wanting. At length a blunt 
old soldier (General M.) settled the question by declaring that 
i ke was a gentleman who was incapable of a base or unworthy 

“ Two of ray paternal uncles settled in America — the one as 
a physician — the other as a lawyer; and both took an active 
part in the revolution. Thomas Tudor, the senior, was a 
member, I believe, of the first Congress; and during the last 
thirty years of his life, he held the responsible station of Trea- 
surer of the United States. He was a Roman in spirit, as I 
have heard him described, without republican vulgarity, aus- 
terity, or presumption. He bequeathed about 20,000/. to his 
relatives, without distinction of country. 

“ His younger brother, St.George, united very harmoniously 
the character of soldier and judge, and was eminent in the 
latter capacity at a more advanced period of life. He married 
the widow Randolph, an American heiress, and mother of 
John Randolph, the late ambassador to St Petersburgh; and 
the fine estate of Ronoke, in Virginia, has now descended to 
his son, my cousin and namesake. His father had a taste for 
literature and poetry; and the following lines, written by him, 
were recited at my table by Mr. Rush, the Minister from the 
United States in this country : 

“ « Days of my youth! ye have glided away; 

Hairs of my youth! ye are frosted and grey; 

Eyes of my youth! your keen sight is no more; 

Cheeks of my yonth! ye are furrowed all o’er; 

Strength of my youth! all your vigor is gone; 

Thoughts of my youth 1 all your visions are flown ! 

“ * Days of my youth! I wish not your recall; 

Hairs of my youth! I’m content you should fall; 

Eyes of my youth! ye much evil have seen; 

Cheeks of my youth! bathed in tears have you been ; 

Thoughts of my youth! ye have led me astray; 

Strength of my youth! why lament your decay P 



u * Days of my age! ye will shortly be past; 

Pains of my age! yet awhile can ye last; 

Joys of my age! in true wisdom delight; 

Eyes of my age! be Religion your light; 

Thoughts of my age! dread not the cold sod; 

Hopes of my age! be ye fixed on your God l* 

“ Dr. Nathaniel Tucker, another brother, who settled as a 
physician in Yorkshire, had still greater pretensions to' poetry. 
He wrote the 4 Bermudian,’ and other poems, which would 
have passed very well in the days of Waller and Prior. . . . 
He then took a very serious turn, and engaged in the study of 
the more abstruse and mystical branches of theology, which did 
not promote his fortune or fame, nor add, I fear, to his happi- 
ness. I remember him well; and I have met with few persons 
of more mild, amiable, or dignified manners. I attended the 
funeral of his widow, who was followed to her grave by all the 
decent poor of the neighbourhood, among whom I could not 
discern many dry eyes. This circumstance struck me very 
forcibly; for I knew that she had not the means of being 
charitable; and why, then, should the poor weep? I have 
attended the funerals of the opulent and great without seeing a 
tear shed. I can only conclude that benevolence may supply 
the place of wealth, and touch the chords of the heart when the 
hand of munificence may fail to leave an impression. 

44 My maternal grandfather, George Bruere ( quasi Bruyere), 
was a gallant old soldier; and from the name, and a remarkable 
vivacity of temper prevalent in his family, I should conjecture 
that he was of French extraction. He obtained the govern- 
ment of Bermuda as a reward for his services in the field; and 
# he administered it for about twenty years as an honorable man. 
He had fourteen children ! ! 

44 I remember to have seen him, after rather copious libations, 
go through the evolutions of the battle of Culloden, and other 
great fights in which he was personally engaged. He marched 
and countermarched — charged the enemy with great vigor — 
handled his large stick with great skill and effect (albeit with 
some peril to those around him), and generally concluded with 
the shout of victory — the 4 British Grenadiers’ — or the popular 



anthem of 4 God save the King !’ He was, heart and soul, a 
Royalist ; while my grandfather Tucker, from his American 
connexions, took a favorable view of the American cause. The 
uncompromising Governor called the Americans 'rebels' — a 
term of reproach which, naturally enough, gave mortal offence 
•to one who, at the moment, had two sons to whom the oppro- 
brious term applied. These proud spirits separated, never to 
meet again in friendly hall; the different members of the two 
families became estranged from each other ; my father alone 
occupying a neutral ground, beloved and respected alike by 
Montague and Capulet. 

“ Several of my maternal uncles followed the honorable pro- 
fession of their father. One was killed at 4 Bunker’s Hill;’ 
another was so repeatedly perforated by the American rifles, 
that he died an invalid in Fort ‘ George,’ or Fort 4 Augustus,’ 
in the Highlands of Scotland; a third (a lieutenant in the 
navy) was severely wounded while heading a boarding party 
in a night attack. The other brothers passed through life in 
the ordinary course. 

u My excellent mother was the eldest daughter; she was an 
affectionate and exemplary wife ; she devoted herself to the 
cares of her large family, and was estimable in all the relations 
of life. She survived my father* several years, and, in the 
absence of all her children, she died at Cheltenham in October, 
1813; and the only act of filial piety which I could perform, on 
my return from India, was to inscribe a tablet to her memory 
in the church of that place.” 

Such were the two families surrounded by which 

* My father had held the situation of Treasurer and Secretary, and 
President of the Council at Bermuda; and more than once held charge of the 
government for a considerable time; but had not interest to secure the suc- 
cession permanently. When 1 returned to England in 1811 , I was called 
upon, as his executor, to satisfy a demand of several thousand pounds which 
stood against the estate, in consequence of the miscarriage of some accounts; 
but he was so correct, and was so well known, that I experienced little dif- 
ficulty in satisfying the Office of Colonial Audit; and the demand was reduced 
to 32 /., on account of the expense of a State boat, entertained, not by him , but 
by his predecessor in office. — H. St.G. T. 



young Henry St.George passed the first ten years of 
his life. It is always curious — sometimes pro- 
fitable — to consider the extent to which the child 
may have been father of the man. Not unmin dful 
of the effect that early influences may have had 
in moulding and shaping his character, Mr. Tucker 
himself paused, at the threshold of his boyish nar- 
rative, to observe that “some of our deepest im- 
pressions are received at a very early age, and tend 
often to exercise an influence on our future lives.” 
“ "We grow up,” he said, “ with the character which 
we have acquired as boys.” Doubtless a vast deal 
of biographical ingenuity is displayed to very little 
purpose in tracing the connexion between the en- 
vironments of the child and the actions of the man. 
And where authentic materials are scanty, these 
conjectural deductions often hover on the extreme 
verge of the Absurd. But without wandering into 
the regions of the great Bar-fetched, something 
may presently be said about the early associations 
which Mr. Tucker has thus described, and their 
effect upon the character of the Man : 

“ I suspect,” he says, after writing of the family feuds hinted 
at in the preceding extract, “ that I was myself a bit of a rebel, 
* for my next brother, George (a noble fellow ! prematurely lost 
to the service which he adorned), was domiciled at the Govern- 
ment House,* and as I resided much at 4 Port Royal,’ where 

* I only envied George his residence at the Government House from his 
being in the way of hearing often my favorite song of the “ Four- and- twenty 
Fiddlers,” sung with great humour to please us children by the late Colonel 
Donkin (father of Sir Kufane), who commanded the garrison, and lived much 
at the Government House, where he was always a welcome guest. After an 
interval of thirty years, I found this stately octogenarian standing sentinel at 


rebel councils prevailed, what could be more natural than that 
I, at the mature age of eight or nine, should aspire to become 
the leader of the popular faction? Men become patriots when 
they cannot otherwise distinguish themselves. Then why not 

“But my republican zeal was very much cooled by the 
French Revolution ; and if a spark of it had remained, our own 
most contemptible revolution of 1830 would have extinguished 
it, and have fixed me, for life, a determined ‘ Conservative ’ 
Oh ! for a Muse of fire, that I might scorch and consume those 
wretched, mischievous, unprincipled men, who urged on that 
fraudulent measure, for their own base purposes, to the ruin of 
their country ! 

“ The disunion of our families, originating in the civil war, 
was productive of much inconvenience and discomfort, and 
might have produced serious evil. 

u Late in the evening, at Port Royal, when night was begin- 
ning to cast her dark shades around, I perceived a strange man, 
muffled up to the ears, suddenly rush from the garden into the 
house, and I expected every moment to see him present a 
blunderbuss, or some other deadly weapon. But, to my surprise, 
the females of the family immediately threw themselves into 
his arms! Some sobbed — and some laughed — according to 
their several tastes, and all was agitation and violent emotion. 
This was quite inexplicable to me. The stranger was a rebel , 
but he was also a son , who, prompted by natural affection, had 
run some risk to pay a hasty clandestine visit to his family ! 
My loyal grandsire would not have doomed him to the fate of 
poor Major Andre; but, had he been discovered, he would not 
easily have found his way back to the rebel ranks. 

“ A great deal of clandestine intercourse took place, during 
the war, between the Bermudians and the Americans; and we 
had the honor of sending forth two very eminent pirates , who 
hovered about the island, and sometimes landed, not for the 

the do or of the York Hotel, in Bath. He had heard of my arrival, and was 
awaiting my return to the hotel. I recognised him instantly— and he greeted 
me as he had done when I was a child.— H. St.G. T. 



purposes of plunder (for they were 4 honorable men’), but to 
greet their relatives and friends, and to dispose of their surplus 
acquisitions. I once saw from the hills a beautiful chase — the 
brother pirates braved and defied his Majesty’s ships. The 
little Nautilus sallied out, perfectly covered with canvas; but 
it was all in vain — nothing, at that time, could touch a Ber- 
mudian schooner. Her commander, Collins, succeeded after- 
wards in making a French line- of-bat tie ship strike her colors; 
but this was a more easy task than to capture the pirates. 
Both subsequently perished in some desperate encounter, in 
which their vessel was, I believe, blown up 

44 1 was delicate as a child, and being the first-born, I was, of 
course, indulged and spoilt. I became a little epicure; but it 
is remarkable that, in after-life, my tastes have been simple. I 
have preferred a simple diet, and have rarely committed excess. 
To the habit of temperance, early rising, and the love of 
exercise, I attribute (under Providence, to whom I owe more 
than I deserve !) that firm state of health which enables me to 
enjoy life at an advanced age. 

44 1 was always fond of riding, and I was allowed to ride 
from one end of the island to the other, attended only by a 
negro servant, who generally held by the tail of my little mare. 
I sometimes went out with the negroes, to catch and bring in 
the horses from the field; and, on one occasion, I ventured to 
mount my father’s favorite horse, 4 Brilliant.’ The spirited 
animal, with my light weight, and lighter hand, galloped off at 
full speed. He soon encountered a gate, which he gallantly 
cleared; but I, who could not carry his momentum with me, 
was left behind to clear it as I might, on foot. 

44 On another occasion, I owed a similar disaster to my ten- 
derness for my mare. I would not allow her girths to be drawn 
too tight, lest they should hurt her. I mounted, with a cousin 
of my own age seated behind me. We dashed off; but the 
saddle, abusing its liberty, suddenly swung round, and my 
cousin and myself, in illustration of the theory of Sir Isaac 
Newton, gravitated incontinently to the ground ! 

44 But I met with a more serious accident, in a boating ex- 



cursion, which nearly proved fatal to me. We sailed about the 
harbour, and landed in a neighbouring isle, where we were 
kindly received, and regaled with * milk punch,* a beverage to 
me before unknown. I became much exhilarated, and in the 
overflow of my spirits, on the way back, I clambered up the 
mast of the boat, and either jumped, or fell, overboard. I sank 
of course, for I could not swim — I sank again; but, rising to 
the surface, a negro, who was in the stern of the boat, caught 
me by the hair, and drew me back into the boat, almost in a 
lifeless state. The servants carried me home in all haste. My 
parents were fortunately absent. I was dried and warmed at 
the kitchen fire, and none, I believe, but the parties present, 
were aware of the occurrence. 

“ My grandsire, the Governor, was exposed to some danger 
about this time. A detachment (on its way, I think, to the 
siege of Charlestown) landed in the island; and a young officer 
belonging to it, taking it into his head to fall in love with the 
person, or perhaps the reputed fortune , of a young lady of 
St. George’s, and the beauty (or perchance her father) not en- 
couraging his addresses, he became desperate, cut off the small 
joint of his little finger, enclosed it to her in a letter, and pro- 
tested that he would go on to sever and transmit to her joint 
after joint until she should accept his suit. 

“ For this prank he was placed under arrest, and my grand- 
father, passing near the window of his barracks, the young 
ruffian, or madman, discharged a pistol at him, which nearly 
took effect. Why he was not shot for the outrage, I do not 
know; but he escaped, and many years afterwards he was met 
by one of my brothers, on service, in the command of a batta- 
lion of the Rajah of Travancore. 

“ I cannot vouch for the fact of his having made love in so 
novel a fashion, because I did not sec the propitiatory offering; 
but it was currently reported and believed in the island, and 1 
have, even at this time, a perfect recollection of the individual. 
I was struck by his appearance, in consequence of his wearing a 
splendid masquerade dress, such as I had never seen before — 
he personated, I think, a Hessian officer; and although very 



diminutive, and possessing feminine rather than manly beauty, 
his countenance and costume were such as to attract and rivet 
the attention of a boy. 

“ Before this period, I obtained a memorable victory over 
my grandsire, which I must record. I was counting at his 
table, after dinner, the seeds of a melon, and he, little dreaming 
that I was one day to become the Accountant-General of India, 
and distrusting my arithmetical powers, promised to give me a 
pistreen for every seed, if my enumeration should prove to be 
correct. The number was not small. They were counted and 
recounted by the umpire, and it was decided that I had won 
the prize. The next morning, my father’s breakfast-table ex- 
hibited the splendid trophy. I had never, perhaps, seen so 
much money before, and my joy and exultation were great. Is 
it not possible that this little circumstance may have had some 
effect in directing my mind in after-life to the study of Finance? 
I might never have had the control and appropriation of mil- 
lions upon millions, if I had not succeeded in counting some 
dozen, or hundred, seeds of a melon! Hence it is deducible 
that the financier sprung from a melon-seed ! 4 This/ Horatio 

might say, ‘ were to examine too curiously/ ‘ Not a whit/ quoth 

It were not, at all events, to examine too curiously, 
to surmise that all this riding and boating tended to 
form the sturdy, robust, moral character of the man, 
no less than to establish the vigorous physical con- 
stitution, which lasted him fourscore years. There 
were, fortunately for young Tucker, no pedagogues, 
and, perhaps, few books in his island-home. His 
schoolroom was amidst the eternal greenery or among 
the sharp rocks of the “ vexed Bermoothes.” His 
chief preceptor seems to have been the Saddle. 
There is more than it is the fashion to acknowledge 
in such teaching as this. Fresh air and free exer- 



cise were the aliments which strengthened the boy, 
and developed the hardy qualities of the man. This 
was the real training — the ineffaceable discipline of 
Nature — which did more to form his after-character 
— to prepare him for the great life-work of doing 
and suffering, than any of the accidents upon which 
he more emphatically dwelt. It is no small thing, 
having to trace the career of one whose manliness 
of character was in all things conspicuous; who 
was, indeed, pre-eminently a man among men ; to 
know that in early boyhood he was much subjected 
to the voluntary discipline of the Saddle. It little 
matters what books a boy is taught to read during 
the first ten years of his life. But it is of the first 
moment that he should be suffered to enjoy free 
libations of air and exercise — and the freest of all 
are to be enjoyed in the saddle. Nothing could be 
more full of promise than the words, “ I was always 
fond of riding, and was allowed to ride from one end 
of the island to the other.” 

As to the rest, it hardly seems that there is much 
connexion between either the early influences or the 
early indications of character, glanced at in the 
Autobiography, and the adult developments of which 
I shall presently come to speak. The Republican 
boy grew into a robust Tory. The little “ Epicure” 
of Bermuda lived to content himself with fare both 
coarse and scanty ; to face all privation with a 
cheerful countenance, and all hardship without a 
murmur of complaint. 

The real training of the boy was, as has been said. 



in those hard gallops across the island, and those 
boating excursions on the coast. It was time 
enough to think seriously about book-learning when 
young Henry St. George was ten years old, and good 
opportunity offered for the safe conveyance of him- 
self and his next brother, George, to England. How 
it was may be told in the words of the Autobio- 

“ Early in 1781 , * my veteran grandsire terminated his 
honorable career; and my father, who was anxious to give us 
the benefit of a good education, determined to send my brother 
George and myself to England for the purpose, under the care 
of our kind-hearted grandmother, who had now become a 
widow. There were no means of education at the time in 
Bermuda, and mine had scarcely commenced. My father was 
too much engaged with his official labors, and my mother 
with the cares of a household and large nursery, to admit of 
their giving me any instruction beyond a little reading, and 
less writing. 

“ The family feud abated, but was not entirely extinguished, 
by the death of my grandfather Bruere; and at a later period, 
in England, it showed itself in a very trifling incident. One 
of my maternal uncles sent me with a letter to Charles James 
Fox; but, unluckily, I called, on my way to Grafton-street, on 
my grandfather Tucker, and he learnt my errand. He looked 
at the letter with an expression of indignation — he was much 
enraged, and I suspected that he would have torn it in pieces, 
in which case I should have had a very difficult account to 
settle with the choleric Captain, who, on another very trivial 
occasion, had treated me with a pretty smart box on the ear.f 
Better feelings, however, prevailed; and I delivered the letter. 
My grandsire had no dislike to Mr. Fox, although the opponent 

* Mr. Williams, in his “ History of the Bermudas,” says that Governor 
Bruere died in September, 1 780. 

t I suspect that my rebel predilections may have given pungency to my 
poor uncle's displeasure; for he had but too much reason to complain of the 
American sharpshooters.— H. StG. T. 



in Westminster of his friend, Sir Cecil Wray. His indignation 
was excited at the idea that one of his race should be converted 
into a letter-carrier by one with whom he was not on speaking 

“ Preparatory to our departure, I paid farewell visits to all 
my relatives and friends in the island, and was overloaded with 
presents. Cousin Tudor gave me a large fat sheep, the pride 
of his flock — others sent jellies and preserves, and all some 
token of regard and remembrance. But the most magnificent 
present which I received was from a worthy auctioneer of the 
name of Smith, who had collected a variety of English coins in 
the course of his business, and these he generously presented to 
me. He was not at all connected with our family, nor could 
he have been influenced by the circumstance of my admiring 
his pretty little daughter, ‘ Jenny Smith/ because I also admired 
* Jenny Kelly/ and another rustic beauty at the opposite end of 
the island. The fact is, that my father was very popular from 
Ills gracious manners, and from that something which denotes 
innate benevolence. They say ‘Poeta nascitur non fit/ and so 
I say of a gentleman. He must be born and bred one. We 
were taught to take off our hats to the lowest person whom we 
met; and this was no small condescension in one of my birth 
and dignity ! My anxious mother, with much good advice be- 
fore parting, explained to me that it was not necessary to take 
off my hat to every person in the streets of London ; but habit is 
strong, and even now, when I repair to the stables for my horse, 
I interchange bows* with the coachmen and ostlers, and all the 
little idle urchins whom I encounter in the mews. 

* A Bermudian Justice, who had, I suppose, acquired the same habit, had a 
wicked trick played off upon him on his arrival in London. A wag, who had 
probably read the “ Fool of Quality,” and who had observed the Justice’s sim- 
plicity, pinned a label upon the back of his coat, describing his name and 
quality. He sallied out to explore. The passers-by read the paper, and some 
loud enough for him to hear. He was delighted that his name and fame 
should have gone before him. Some accosted him— “ How do ye do, Mr. Jus- 
tice ?" “ How does your wife do ?” M What’s the last news from Ber- 

muda ?” The Justice bowed, and smiled, and bowed again, and thought the 
“ Lunoners” the civilest and best informed people in the world. I do not 
know how the adventure ended ; but it is upon such slender premises, I fear, 
that we sometimes build our fame, and rest our conclusions.— H. St.G. T. 



“ The hour of departure at length arrived, and we embarked 
in April, 1781, on the good ship Diligentia , a Spanish prize, 
leaving many wet eyes behind us. Our little captain, who I 
suspect was a Welshman, was determined, like another Van 
Tromp, to sweep the seas. He bore a letter of marque; and he 
chased everything. The goodly Diligentia moved like a castle 
upon the waters; but still we pursued everything that ran away 
from us. One heavy Dutchman we thought to have caught, 
for she was as heavy as ourselves. I watched her with eager 
eyes for many hours — sometimes we seemed to near her, and 
then again she increased her distance; but, at length, night 
came on, and she escaped from us, or we from her. 

44 One fine morning, a long, low frigate, bearing French colors, 
and of French build, came sweeping down upon us. She did 
not give us time to chase her, as we should have done — -just as 
the heroic Sir William Meadowes was accustomed to chase 
Tippoo Sultan; but we were resolved to show fight. The 
boatswain’s whistle called to quarters — the men were at their 
guns — the little captain strutted the quarter-deck, an inch 
higher — and even the * quakers* on the quarter-deck seemed 
impatient * to give tongue;* when, lo! the frigate fired a shot 
across our bows, hauled her wind, and hoisted English colors ! 
I will not undertake to say who was most glad or sorry at this 
sight; but this I remember, that, instead of round and canister 
shot, which must soon have riddled the good ship Diligentia , 
we received round bottles of 4 capillaire’ and 4 orgeat,* and 
canisters of sundry good things which had recently escaped 
from the West Indies. The frigate was H.M.*s ship LOiseau ; 
and the courteous commander, hearing that the hospitable 
hostess who had so often entertained the officers of H.M.’s 
navy in Bermuda was on board, gallantly sent us every little 
delicacy which his ship afforded. Here, again, we see the 

44 On one occasion, our bellicose propensities were like to have 
been put to a rough trial. A French privateer, under English 
colors, ran under our stern. I stole up from the cabin below to 
see the fun, and placed myself near the taffrail, from whence I 




could have thrown, a biscuit into die vessel. She was crowded 
with men, who thronged the forecastle and bowsprit, ready to 
board; but our little captain was nothing daunted. He ran out 
his stem-chaser — made every preparation to receive the assault 
—put on so good a face, and gave his orders with such coolness 
and determination (every word of which, I suspect, must have 
been heard by the Frenchman), that the enemy became dis- 
couraged, and soon sheered off. We then, as usual, gave chase ; 
but to the amusement, I presume, if not to the mortification, of 
the Frenchman. Had he shown more pluck, we must have 
become his prize; for he greatly outnumbered us, to all appear- 
ance, in men, while his vessel was more manageable. It is very 
strange, but I do not recollect that I felt at all afraid at the 
moment. I have often experienced the uneasy sensation of 
fear; but on this occasion curiosity, or the novelty and excite- 
ment of the scene, or perhaps ignorance of the danger, appear 
to have suppressed all feeling of its presence. 

“ At length, after a passage of seven weeks, we safely landed 
at Portsmouth.” 

The two brothers were put to school at Hampstead, 
under the care of a Dr. Alexander, who seems to 
have had small Latin and less Greek. But he had 
provided competent teachers, and young Tucker, who 
had learnt little in the Bermudas to place him in a 
high form at Hampstead, fired by emulation, pushed 
forward rapidly, but perhaps somewhat superficially, 
and soon acquired tolerable proficiency in the learned 
languages. His own account of his schoolboy days 
has little that is remarkable in it. It is, indeed, a 
sort of general transcript of the scholastic experi- 
ences of the grandsires of the present generation of 
schoolboys : 

“ We reached England early in June, 1781, and were kindly 


1 # 

welcomed by my grandfather Tucker, who carried me to the 
theatre (I think) the night after our arrival, to see the 1 Clan- 
destine Marriage.’ Everything was, of course, new and won- 
derful to the island boy; but the indulgence nearly proved fatal 
to me. I was inoculated for the small-pox a few days after- 
wards; but the enemy had already insinuated itself into the 
citadel, and my life was in imminent peril for some weeks, the 
least evil apprehended being the loss of my sight. I recovered, 
however, under the rough treatment which prevailed at that 
time, and I was indebted mainly to the kind care and attentions 
of an aunt for the preservation of my sight, and perhaps (under 
Divine Providence) for life itself. 

“ But I Came forth most wofully disfigured. For some time 
I was not permitted to look in a glass; and when I first saw 
myself, after my recovery, I was horror-struck at the change. 
A shaved head, inflamed eyes, deep scars and indentations, 
produced a face on which the furies might have been supposed 
to have carried on a sanguinary conflict. * Well/ observed one 
of my aunts, * you have now, Henry, lost all your good looks, 
and you have nothing for it but to make yourself agreeable by 
your manners and accomplishments.’ Here was cold comfort; 
but the words made an impression upon my mind, and may 
possibly have had some influence on my future life. 

“ In August, 1781, 1 was placed, with my brother George, 
who was two years younger than myself, at Dr. Alexander’s 
school at Hampstead — an establishment where much was done 
to furnish the head, but very little to supply another important 
functionary. Our fare was very indifferent, and of those ar- 
ticles whose quality was unobjectionable the supply was scanty 
and insufficient. 

“ The first evening after my installation I was presented with 
a coarse Slice of bread and butter. This I held up in my hand, 
demanding, in a peremptory tone, if it were 1 meant for my 
supper?* The woman stared in silence, and I indignantly 
threw back into her tray the offensive article. A little urchin 
near me whispered, meanwhile, * Give it to me — give it to me;* 

c 2 



but the die was cast, and the good woman quietly proceeded on 
with her tray. 

“The keen air of Hampstead, however, produced a wonder- 
ful change in my appetite; and the next evening I not only 
accepted the proffered slice, but I should not have felt myself 
insulted if the whole loaf had followed. 

“ To our hard puddings, which were always a prelude to the 
meat, I never could reconcile myself ; and, when no famished 
boy was to be found, they were usually consigned to our 
pockets, and many a volley have I seen fly over our next 
neighbour’s wall, after dinner. Happily no accident occurred, 
but if man or animal had been in the way, these bullets, like 
the famous gun of Tippoo Sultan, would have erased from his 
forehead the decrees of Destiny itself. 

“On entering the school, I was mortified to find that we 
were placed at the bottom, and below boys younger than my- 
self ; but pride gave a spur to my exertions, and I was soon 
brought forward very rapidly, and, indeed, too rapidly, for I 
passed over books which I ought to have read, and I was made 
to read books (Juvenal, &c.) which I could not understand. 
Horace and Homer were my favorite authors, and Greek my 
favorite language; and if I had applied to it two or three 
years longer, I should probably have made no inconsiderable 
proficiency; but I acquired everything hastily, and consequently 

“ Dr. A. piqued himself upon his French, but he was not a 
classical scholar; and we, senior boys, would have thought it 
quite ridiculous if he had interfered with our Latin or Greek. 
He had, however, the good sense to engage a good Grecian 
as senior usher (Hamilton), and our Latin master (Lorimer) 
was full of zeal. George was a special favorite with him, and 
he used to make us recite the odes of Horace, as a great treaty 
during the hours which might otherwise have been given to 
rest or recreation. 

“ I was not fond of Euclid, and I made small progress in 
Mathematics, a circumstance which I have had occasion to regret 



throughout life. Feeling the want so much, I was induced, at 
the age of thirty-seven or thirty-eight, to commence the study of 
Algebra; but it was then too late to become a mathematician. 
For drawing I had no turn, and all my lines were run by the 
rule and compass. I was fond of fencing, but I never became a 
powerful or skilful swordsman. Dancing seemed to have come 
to me as from nature, for I was scarcely credited when I men- 
tioned, on my debut, that I had not been previously taught. 

44 I soon became very fond of novels and romances, and par- 
ticularly of Spanish and Eastern tales; and I suspect that the 
4 Arabian Nights’ and the 4 Tales of the Genii’ may have had 
something to do in sending me to India, although it is scarcely 
possible to imagine a greater contrast than that presented be- 
tween the gorgeous palaces of the East and the midshipman’s 
berth on the orlop deck of an Indiaman. 

44 The first novel which fell into my hands was the * Fool of 
Quality;’ and although it was probably foolish enough, I recol- 
lect that I strained my eyes to devour it, in the twilight of a 
summer’s evening. 4 Pamela* followed, and nothing came amiss, 
excepting Richardson’s most tedious 4 Clarissa Harlowe,’ which 
I never had patience to read to a conclusion. 

44 There are few things in the life of a schoolboy worth re- 
membering, and few which I remember; but trifles sometimes 
keep possession of the memory from particular associations. 

u I well recollect the first ascent of Lunardi’s balloon, which 
I saw to great advantage, and which struck me as something 
veiy wonderful. Godwin had not written his 4 Political Jus- 
tice’ at the time, or he might have instanced this triumph of 
mind over matter, in illustration of his theory, although it is 
now become so familiar to us as scarcely to attract attention. 
In fact, science of late years has produced so many greater 
wonders, that travelling in the air is considered to be fit only to 
attract the gaze of the vulgar. Even a Lord Mayor’s show, 
which appeared to be so fine and imposing a spectacle, with the 
men in armour, would be regarded by a modem schoolboy as a 
gaudy, idle pageant. Such has been the advance of knowledge ! 

M I tad several skirmishes while at Hampstead; but only two 



regular battles. The first scuffle ms with the Honorable Thomas 
Douglas, subsequently well known as Lord Selkirk; and I can- 
not guess how we should have had an altercation, for he was 
very reserved, and seldom engaged in our play. Indeed, he 
kept aloof from us, and seemed to be entirely absorbed in his 
own meditations. He often swung himself from the branch of 
an old tree at the bottom of our playground; and I can almost 
fancy that I see him in his usual contemplative mood, with 
head in air, to all appearance counting the leaves above him. 

tl My first battle took place with a French boy soon after I 
entered the school. He was much older and taller than myself, 
but lame and very awkward, and not at all skilled in the art of 
boxing, in which I was myself a novice. After being engaged 
for some time in a very desultory warfare, the odds turned in 
my favor; and my opponent, becoming much enraged, made a 
furious onset, seized me by the head, and endeavoured by one 
great effort to bring my face into close contact with his knee; 
when, lo! off came my wig — and the astonished Frenchman, 
holding up this vain trophy, seemed to expect that the head 
would follow; but I was not idle in the mean time, and after a 
short struggle, victory declared in my favor. 

“ The termination of my next contest was very different 
indeed. My opponent was younger than myself, but much 
more strong and weighty, and a most skilful pugilist He beat 
me to a dead stand-still; and I could at last scarcely support 
myself against the wall, or return his blows. He was victorious, 
of course; but I was exceedingly provoked at being scolded 
and taunted afterwards by a pert little housemaid for having 
Struck her 4 pet boy/ A plague upon such pet boys; for I was 
feeling at the moment most sensibly the effects of his sturdy 

44 We generally spent our holidays with our kind grand- 
mother; but in the summer of 1783 we accompanied a part of 
the school to Margate, for the advantage of sea-bathing. About 
fifty or sixty of us were crammed into a hoy; and having had 
a long passage, we passed a night on board in the most comfort- 
lees condition. We were huddled together in a small cabin, 


some lying longitudinally, others transversely and diagonally 
over them, and nearly all suffering from sea-sickness. I was 
one of the very few who escaped this annoyance ; but it being 
known, on our landing, that I had not been sick, I was imme- 
diately ordered a dose of physic. It seemed to me strange and 
illogical that I should be required to take physic because I was 
well; but Alexander the Great (not he of Macedon) troubled 
himself very little with logic in such cases, and we knew he had 
an instrument which would have silenced Aristotle himself. 
Upon another occasion I was treated much in the same way. 
Most of the boys had what is called the 4 influenza,’ for want of 
a better title, /felt quite well; but our old apothecary, wisely 
concluding that, if I were not sick, I ought to be, under any 
theory, whether the thing were contagious or epidemic, or 
neither the one nor the other, I was unceremoniously subjected 
to the same course of discipline. Happily, however, I was not 
often caught in his net. 

“ In 1785 we enacted the tragedy of 4 Hamlet, the Dane;* 
and really it was very well performed. The insignificant part 
of Osrick was assigned to me ; but in the after-piece I was 
rather better provided for in the character of the Frenchman in 
Garrick’s farce of 4 Lethe.’ We afterwards rehearsed the 
tragedy of 6 Cato;’ and there I had allotted to me the important 
part of Mm Marcia ; but whenever Juba began to recite the 
lines: 4 The lovely Marcia towers above her sex — True, she is 
fair, oh how divinely fair,’ the boys were all in a titter, and I 
was forcibly reminded of the small-pox. It was cruel to make 
me personate a Roman belle, prude though she may have been; 
but luckily I left the school before I was called upon to perpe- 
trate this part, or that of Termagant , in a farce, whose title even 
I do not now recollect.” 

It was intended that young Tucker should be 
trained for the legal profession. His father probably 
conceived that his local interest would enable Henry 
St.George to secure for himself a competence by 
practising at the Bermudian Bar. But the boy had 


mo taste for such drudgery as this; and when, in 
the course of the Christmas holidays of 1785-86, one 
of his aunts asked him whether he would like to 
visit India, he appears to have grasped eagerly at 
the offer of such an escape from the thraldom of the 
schoolroom and the lawyer’s desk. It seems that 
she had no delegated authority to make any such 
proposal. The impulse was, doubtless, a kindly one ; 
the act belonged to the great family of the "Well- 
meant. A very mischievous family it is; but in 
this case, at least, the unwarrantable interference of 
the good lady, shaping as it did the whole career of 
Henry St. George Tucker, produced results which, 
had she lived to see them, she might have regarded 
with a smile of complacency and a thrill of delight. 

And so it was thus hastily determined that the 
boy should “go out to India.” It does not ap- 
pear that his aunt had formed any very clear con- 
ception of what he was to do there, or had very 
far-seeing projects for his future advancement in 
life. There were merchant-ships always sailing for 
the Indian ports, and there was little difficulty in 
obtaining for a hardy, healthy boy of good family 
a midshipman’s berth on board an Indiaman. So 
Henry St.George Tucker, at the age of fifteen, be- 
came a midshipman on board a merchant-ship. The 
history of his departure and of his voyage to India 
shall be told in his own words : 

“la December, 1785, I bade adieu to Hampstead for the 
holidays, never to return ; for my good aunt T., having inci- 
dentally asked me if I should like to go out to India, I eagerly 


caught at the idea, and my destiny was soon decided. She had 
the best motives, no doubt, for her object was to relieve my 
father from the charge of my education; but she assumed an 
authority which did not belong to her, and she contravened all 
his plans for my future establishment in life. My predominant 
feeling was, perhaps, to get rid of the discipline of a school, 
and to avoid the laborious process of preparing for the law, the 
profession for which my father had destined me. I was also, 
perhaps, influenced by the prospect of realising some of the 
scenes in those Eastern fictions which had delighted my imagi- 

4 4 My father, however, was much displeased and grieved at 
this hasty and most unjustifiable proceeding, which separated 
us for ever, never to meet again; and I received from him a 
letter of reproof, which cut me to the very heart. It was one 
of the most impressive productions of the kind which I ever 
read, and I wish that I could insert it here, as a model of that 
sort of composition which is produced by strong feeling, coming 
directly from the heart of an affectionate parent; but when it 
reached me I was 15,000 miles off, hunting wild animals on 
the plains of Behar. 

44 It having been thus hastily decided that I should proceed 
to India, and in the situation of a midshipman on board an 
Indiaman, I was forthwith sent to attend Mr. Wales, the cir- 
cumnavigator and astronomer, at Christ’s Hospital, for the pur- 
pose of being instructed in navigation; but in six or eight 
weeks I could not learn much. Indeed, I merely went over 
the ground which I had previously traversed at school; or if I 
acquired anything, it was simply the application of trigonometry 
to some practical purposes. No attempt was made to instruct 
me in nautical astronomy. 

“ In March, 1786, I was to embark in the William Pitt , 
Captain Charles Mitchell, and to bid adieu to England and my 
family, perhaps for ever; but few of my relatives were in town, 
and the parting was not, I believe, very painful. My kind 
aunt T. presented me with a couple of guineas, enjoining me 
not to mention the circumstance to Captain T., who would 


furnish my purse with the necessary supply; but he, knowing 
the world and its ways, bluntly asked me what xny aunt had 
given me, and I was obliged to confess the fact 4 Very good 
— that will do/ was the only'Temark which escaped him; and 
I was left, somewhat disappointed, and not exactly satisfied 
with his slender premises or questionable conclusions. 

44 But I started for Gravesend in grand style, in a carriage 
and four, with the Purser and public despatches, and two other 
youngsters, midshipmen like myself. 

44 The following morning we were called into the cuddy, 
successively, to receive our impress money, or an advance of 
two months’ wages ; and the good man who held the money- 
bags fortunately asked me if I had ever been at sea before. I, 
not knowing the object of the question, promptly answered that 
I had. 4 1 am glad of it, young gentleman, for we have too 
many land-lubbers among us.’ This stamped me at once as an 
ordinary, if not an able seaman, and my wages were regulated 
accordingly. And here let it be observed that, as I had suf- 
fered by my candor in one instance, it was but fair th at I should 
gain by the same adherence to truth in another. My wages 
enabled me to contribute a small sum towards my mess, and to 
purchase a keg of gin in the Downs, of which I was never a 
large consumer. 

u In these said Downs my troubles commenced, and I expe- 
rienced discomfort enough. The ship was crammed with in- 
vestment, and crowded with Irish recruits. The very first 
night my great-coat and my cot, with all its appurtenances, were 
carried off, and I never saw them more — at least, in a way to 
identify them. There were seventeen midshipmen on board, 
and the berth allotted to us on the orlop deck was only suffi- 
cient to enable four to hang their cots, or hammocks. I took 
possession of the chest on which our meals were served; but 
even for this hard couch I was obliged to maintain a sharp 
struggle; and as I was successful, I trust that fortune was not 
blind. Our senior midshipman and coxswain, seeing my state 
of destitution, and being in a different watch, allowed me to 
turn in and out with him for a week or ten days; but I was so 


sleepy-headed that he found it difficult to rouse me, and this 
indulgence was soon -withdrawn; and during the greater part 
of the voyage I dept on a hen-coop on the poop; and as our 
poultry diminished, I sometimes, to avoid the rain, crept into 
the hen-coop itself. 

“ I had another Bource of discomfort. A great lumbering 
chest, which Captain T. had formerly used as a store-chest, 
contained my clothes and necessaries. For a day or two it re- 
mained on deck, the object of constant abuse, for it was in 
everybody’s way; but it being difficult to find room for it 
below, it was consigned to the fore-hatchway, where it became 
the dining-table of our Hibernian recruits. This would have 
been all very well; but these Irish lads, by perpetually jumping 
upon it, opened a large seam, or crack, in the lid, which in 
consequence freely admitted their pea-soup. Unluckily, too, 
the chest contained not only my clothes, but a supply of rusks 
and gingerbread nuts; and the soup, entering into a combina- 
tion with these precious articles, my chest was in a condition 
which it would not be easy to depict Besides, I could seldom 
obtain access to it; and I have often remained wet and dirty, 
without the possibility of obtaining a change of linen. . . . 

I might have supplied myself with jackets and trousers from 
the purser’s Btores; but then I was anxious to keep my wages 
untouched, that I might have my pockets foil on my return 

“ Our first attempt to get out to sea was unsuccessful, and we 
were compelled to return to the Downs; but it proved a pretty 
sharp debut for us young gentlemen on the poop. 

u Our chief mate (the son of a Deal pilot) was every inch of 
him a thorough-bred seaman, and a brave officer ; but he was 
a perfect tiger in a blue coat. He told us at starting that we 
must manage all the after-sails, the mizen-mast and its appen- 
dages being our peculiar charge. Well, there is no great dif- 
ficulty in getting under weigh. Sails can be hoisted, and sheets 
and braces hauled by inexperienced hands ; but the wind headed 
us, and a gale came on, attended with sleet and extreme cold. 
Every reef of the mizen-topsail was ordered to be taken in, and 



tlie sail to be furled. Here came the tug of war — c hoc opus, 
hie labor.’ We were to lie out on the yard-arm, where two- 
thirds of us had never been before. No assistance was allowedr 
below, not even to trim the yards for the purpose of shaking the 
sail. This hard, unbending sail, like ourselves, had never been 
at sea before. It was made more unmanageable, if possible, by 
the sleet and the wind, which forced it over the yard. We 
were exposed to this persecuting sleet and intense cold for (I 
think) about two hours, until we succeeded, at length, in secur- 
ing the sail, after successively taking in every reef ; when we 
were permitted to come down, benumbed and exhausted. We 
soon after bore up, and returned to our anchorage in the Downs. 

“ The trial was a rough one ; but it had the effect of making 
all difficulties appear light thenceforward. Of this 1 had prac- 
tical proof in my own case. Some weeks after we had been at 
sea, we were suddenly assailed by what is called a 1 white 
squall,’ without the slightest indication of its approach. The 
ship was laid on her beam-ends — the ports were to be secured — 
halliards, sheets, and braces were let go— and everything was in a 
state of most admired confusion. Our after-sails were got in first, 
and I was ordered up, with three after-guardsmen, to furl the 
maintop-gallant-sail, for it was impossible all at once to man all 
the yards, and attend to everything which the emergency re* 
quired. But, unluckily, one of the lifts had given way, and the 
yard, from its accustomed horizontal position, assumed the per- 
pendicular. I was desired to lie out, or rather lie down, on the 
yard, to get hold, if possible, of the lee-leach of the sail. Here 
was a mighty pretty office for a young gentleman of fifteen; but 
there was no time for reflection, and down I went, scarcely ex- 
pecting to return, for the difficulty of maintaining my hold on 
a dangling yard, with a blustering sail to deal with, was very 
great. What would my poor parents have felt if they had seen, 
or fancied me, suspended aloft in a position perpendicular to the 
boiling sea below? I think I see the white foam at this moment, 
although half an hour before the sea had been calm and unruffled. 
But I happily got back in safety, from a situation where the 
slightest misadventure or unsteadiness must have proved fatal. 



How often have I been mercifully preserved by that gracious 
Power to whom I owe so many blessings ! 

“ While on this theme, I may as well recount a few accidents 
which occurred to me on board, for the purpose of illustrating 
the life of a midshipman in an Indiaman some fifty years ago. 

u On being suddenly aroused one night from sleep on the poop, 
I stepped, as I thought, from a hen-coop, upon the deck of the 
said poop ; but to my great surprise, I alighted on the quarter- 
deck, but without breaking my bones, or other injury, beyond 
the shock at the instant. 

“ During a very rainy night, I had ensconced myself under the 
mat-covering of a carriage, which had been placed (much out 
of place) in the front part of the poop over the awning ; but 
falling asleep, as was my wont, and the matting being decayed 
or injured by these nocturnal visits, I slipped through, and was 
precipitated with great violence on the quarter-deck. I was 
grievously bruised and stunned, and I scarcely recovered my 
consciousness until morning, having been huddled under the 
awning out of the way, like any other useless lumber, by some 
good-natured quartermaster ; but in a few days I was upon my 
legs again, and indeed, I never absented myself from my watch, 
or received medical treatment. 

“ One of the important duties of a midshipman is to hold the 
candle when any work is going on below. On one of these 
occasions, when we were moving or getting out some stores, a 
brute of a quartermaster pitched a keg of pickled salmon in a 
direction to strike me forcibly on the back. I thought that 
my breath was gone, and my back broken; but things came 
round in time, and no complaint was made of this brutality, for 
that would only have produced a feud among those who were 
near neighbours on the orlop, and not otherwise very well dis- 
posed towards each other. 

“ Another inappreciable privilege of the midshipman was to 
visit the coal-hole without a candle, and alone, for the spirit-room 
was at hand, where a light would be dangerous; but unluckily 
a grapnail had been placed across the entrance to this dark 
cavern at the bottom of the ship, and we boys could only 


squeeze ourselves in upon all fours, and shovel out the coals 
with our hands into a large basket in the gangway. I had, on 
one occasion, successfully gone through this tedious process — the 
basket was full, and was hoisted up slowly until it had nearly 
reached the deck, when — through accident or ^design (but I 
suspect the latter) — it was toppled over, and a shower of coals 
came rattling down, to my astonishment and dismay. I had just 
a moment to withdraw my head hastily into the dark coal-hole, 
or that head would in an instant have been in a condition to defy 
the manipulation of Dr. Spurzheim himself. .... 

il I was never * mast-headed* but once as a punishment, and 
perhaps I deserved it. The boy with whom I had a struggle 
for the mess-chest as a bed, called upon me to heave the log; 
but I, fancying myself as good a man as himself, desired that he 
would hold the reel, and I would heave the log. He refused, 
and I persisted, and between us the log was not hove; but the 
omission was discovered, and the hour of reckoning arrived; 
and both parties having been found guilty, we were both 
ordered up for two hours to the main-yard-arm, first up to take 
the weather-yard. I obtained this honorable distinction; and 
the main-yard, it must be admitted, offered a pretty fair seat, 
and sufficient accommodation; but as I always distrusted my 
propensity to sleep (for it was during the night), I took care to 
secure myself by a gasket, or some other lashing. I came well 
off, with only four bells; as one of our boys was kept at the 
mast-head, either from design or forgetfulness, for nearly a whole 
day, and we were obliged to supply his wants clandestinely 
from below. 

“ It may be asked if such sharp discipline did not sometimes 
occasion accidents. One did occur with us. A boy was knocked 
down, or pushed down, in the dark, and falling against a ring- 
bolt, broke his thigh. But he was indulged in consequence 
with a hammock full six weeks or more. Lucky rogue ! 

“ While I a llude to occurrences somewhat tinctured with 
severity, I ought not to omit a circumstance which was highly 
creditable to the spirit and decision of our chief officer. Our 
recruitB, who had been reinforced by a party from Madras, and 



who were certainly in a state of great discomfort from want of 
the necessary accommodation, broke out into a serious riot; and 
they became so violent and ungovernable that it was judged 
necessary for the officers and others to come armed to the 
quarter-deck* One of the ringleaders was seized and lashed to 
ffie main-shrouds for punishment, when an accomplice, who had 
perched himself in the long boat, called out most vociferously, 
4 If one is to be punished, we’ll all be punished.’ The chief 
officer darted through the crowd, was on the booms in an 
instant, seized the man by the collar, placing a pistol at his 
head, and coolly told him that he should be the first example. 
The man uttered not a word — the crowd silently made way — 
and the offender received two dozen, which would have satisfied 
the most craving appetite. Only two punishments took place, 
of two dozen each; but these two dozen, in intrinsic value, 
were probably equivalent to 1000 lashes, which the parties 
might have received for a similar offence on shore. Upon the 
whole, although no connoisseur in these matters, I am disposed 
to prefer our marine 4 cat-o’-nine-tails,’ for it does not unneces- 
sarily prolong the torture. 

44 1 do not dislike salt-junk; but it would be quite as agree- 
able to have a little change in the course of four or five months. 
I did, it is true, once during the voyage receive, for my portion, 
about a cubic inch of roast mutton, which the captain’s steward, 
in an unaccountable fit of charity, or caprice, presented to the 
mess. A young shark’s tail, too, now and then offered some 
variety, although it was not at all equal to the whale cutlets 
which we have in Bermuda. But the luxury of all luxuries, the 

dinner which would have given an appetite to Sir W. C 

himself, with nothing more than his own hard biscuits, was an 
enormous sea-pie, made of albatrosses and other sea-fowl, which 
we had taken with the hook and line. Such a dinner I never 
saw before, and never shall see again; and it was enjoyed by us 
more than any ever set forth at the London Tavern* 

“I had another pleasant little treat on Sunday evenings* 
when the weather was fair. Our good purser, Mr. Begbie, 
used to assemble four or five of us in his cabin, where we read 



a chapter in the Bible, and were afterwards regaled with gin- 
gerbread and a glass of wine or cherry-brandy. This made us 
pass our Sunday evenings very comfortably, and I always looked 
forward to them with pleasure, especially as on that day I gene- 
rally contrived, in the absence of my tenants, the recruits, to 
obtain access to my chest for a clean shirt, as well as the other 
means of cleaning myself, and appearing like an officer and a 

“ We reached Madras on the 26th of July, just four months 
after our departure from the Downs; and nothing can be more 
curious, or strike a traveller more forcibly, than the sight of the 
numerous catamarans, or, as it would seem, naked men, black 
as coal, walking, as it were, upon the sea. The song of the 
Mussoola boatmen is also new and pleasing to a stranger — 4 Ali 
— Ali — Emaum Ali Yar ! Ali — 1’ Ali — Ali PAli P 

“ I had lost a wager to one of my messmates of a dozen of 
ducks; and, whether through his influence, or my own extra- 
ordinary merit and trustworthiness, I was sent on shore in 
charge of the first boat, conveying stores, or investment, to the 
beach. This was too favorable an opportunity to be lost, and I 
was commissioned to add a pig to my dozen of ducks, for the • 
purpose of having a proper cheveau on the very next day, which 
I believe was Sunday. I succeeded admirably. The ducks 
gave me no trouble, for they were dead ; but a live pig is a 
queer customer, and I not only had some trouble with him, but 
when he was handed up the side of the ship with all due cere- 
mony, he squeaked so lustily as to attract the quick ear, or keen 
eye, of our chief officer. This was a contretemps which gave 
me much vexation. 

44 The next morning I was placed on general duty, and was 
employed incessantly under the immediate eye of the chief 
officer himself, until it pleased him to retire from the quarter- 
deck to take a hasty dinner. My ducks, in the mean time, had 
been roasted, served up, and nearly consumed, with the little 
rascal of a pig. No time was to be lost. Down I went to the 
orlop, to feast upon the debris ; but 1 had a certain presenti- 
ment, or misgiving, that I should not be allowed to pick my 



bones in peace, so I prepared for the worst, like a skilful general 
who foresees a manoeuvre on the part of his opponent. Anon a 
gruff voice thundered down the hatchway, * Below there ! Mid- 
shipman Tucker !’ I lost not a moment. Off went my shirt, 
and in an instant I sprang upon the medicine-chest, which 
occupied the hatch, almost in a state of nature. I then made a 
pathetic appeal to the immutable principles of justice — urged 
that I had been at work the whole morning — had not had time 
to clean myself, nor (I might have added) to pick the bones of 
my delicious ducks. The tiger growled, and went on in search 
of other prey. This was a triumph not unworthy of Alexander, 
with the advantage of not shedding a drop of blood; and I pro- 
ceeded, with some exultation, to finish my dainty repast, too 
long delayed. 

“ The next day I received a kind invitation from Colonel 
Grattan, the brother of the great Irish orator, to pay him a 
visit, and I went on shore without delay, dressed in all my best. 
I was graciously received by the colonel and his lady, who, as 
Miss Carey, before her marriage, had resided with my uncle in 
Calcutta. The colonel was a grave, reserved man, but I liked 
him, because I fancied he resembled my father, whom I was 
not fated to see again. Mrs. Grattan was a bonnie lassie, very 
good-humoured — a great contrast to the colonel; and I liked 
her, because she carried me to a grand ball at the Government 
House, and did all in her power to contribute to my amusement 
during the ten days we remained at Madras. 

“ We made the passage to the Sand-heads without accident; 
but bringing up in Saugor roads, our anchor got foul, and we 
had the utmost difficulty in weighing it. The utmost force of 
the lever was applied by crowding the capstan-bars, but all in 
vain. The 4 messenger’ at length gave way, with a desperate 
bounce, scattering us midshipmen, who were holding on, in 
different directions, but luckily without much injury to any of 
us. A new 4 messenger’ was to be bent, and when at last we 
succeeded in raising the anchor, one of the flukes was found, to 
our great surprise, to have been drawn almost into a straight 
line, such was the force which had been applied to it. The 




duty of holding on the ‘ messenger’ belonged especially to the 
midshipmen, who were also indulged with a ride upon a tri- 
angle, for the purpose of greasing the mast, tarring the standing 
rigging, &c., &c. But, alas ! this useful class of boys is now, I 
fear, nearly extinct, having followed the fate of those superb 
ships which were heretofore the pride of our Indian commerce. 

“ On our arrival at Diamond Harbour I found a budgerow 
waiting for me, with one of my uncle’s clerks. I was speedily 
on board, and being ushered into the cabin, I saw a sedate 
gentleman, with what appeared to be the head of a long snnke 
in his mouth, while a rattling behind gave ground for conjec- 
ture that this must be of the species rattle- snake. It was an 
innocent Bengal hookah. 

“ We soon reached Calcutta,* where I was kindly welcomed 
by my maternal uncle, Mr. Bruere, who was then one of the 
secretaries to the Government; and having been duly installed 
in a very commodious apartment, I was conducted up-stairs to 
pay my devoirs to my aunt. I met an elegant little personage, 
whom I took at first to be a young lady fresh from school, for 
she had a pretty little figure, was dressed in a nice white frock, 
with a profusion of beautiful hair, hanging below her waist. 
This sylph-like vision was my very good aunt, the mother of 
three children.” 

* This was about the middle of the month of August, 1786. 




Early Indian Life of Henry St.George Tucker— Residence, with Mr.Bruere— 
Departure for Gyak — Residence with Mr. Law— Mr. Law and the Mocur- 
rery System— Appointment to the Secretary’s Office — Loss of his first 
Earnings — Appointed Assistant to the Commercial Agent at Commer- 
colly — Residence at Hurriaul — Early Writings — Opinions on the Land 
Assessment — On Excise and Gunge Duties. 

It was in the month of August, 1786, that Henry 
St.George Tucker found himself located in the house 
of his maternal uncle, Mr. Braere, at that period one 
of the secretaries to Government. It does not seem 
that he had at any time a fixed intention of follow- 
ing the profession into which he had been so hastily 
and unadvisedly launched. If he had, it soon be- 
came apparent to him that there was very little in- 
ducement to adhere to such a design. He left his 
ship at Calcutta, and looked the world in the face. 

“ I entered the world,” he wrote more than half 
a century afterwards to one of his sons, “ without 
money or Mends ; and I had to struggle for almost 
fifteen years against poverty and debt. I lived for 
a time on about sixty rupees per month, in Rannee- 
Moodee-Gully, in a s mall hovel which I had to main- 
tain against a colony of rats. My health occasionally 

d 2 



failed, but a removal to this country or the comforts 
of marriage never entered into my contemplation. 
So far from it, I was obliged to assist others, in spite 
of my pecuniary embarrassments. Well, after all, 
here I am at the age of sixty-nine, enjoying a fair 
state of health and measure of strength, with every 
blessing which I could desire. This, too, after 
bringing up a large family with a moderate fortune, 
not one sixpence of which was disreputably ac- 
quired. . . . Consider these premises and the 

result — and take comfort.”* 

Such, in a few words, is the history of Henry St.- 
George Tucker — such the great moral to be drawn 
from it. “ Take comfort !” To the biographer, 
whose duty it is to fill in the details, it is necessarily 
a source of unspeakable regret that the records of 
these fifteen struggle-years — these years of difficulty 
and debt — should be so scanty and unsatisfying. 
All that is known of Mr. Tucker’s early Indian ex- 
periences — all that affection has garnered up and 
that industry can gather from scattered sources — 
■will be given in this and the following chapters. 
Slender as is the information, it may yet suffice to 
give full significance to the words, “ Consider these 
premises and the result, and — take comfort /” 

At the age of fifteen, young Tucker, fifteen thou- 

* Written in 1840. Mr. Tucker, in this letter, addressing his son, says 
also: “ You complain of grey hairs. I had them as early as yourself; and 
what was worse, I was obliged to use spectacles at the age of twenty-two, and 
had reason to apprehend that my sight would have failed long ago— a failure 
which must have been decisive of the fate of one who could only hope to 
make his way in life by the most persevering industry.” 



sand miles from home, without money, almost with- 
out friends, looked the world in the face. He had 
no recognised position of any kind ; he was not a 
writer ; he was not a cadet ; he was not a clerk in a 
merchant’s office ; he was simply an adventurer. Of 
India and the East he knew as much as he had 
gathered from those great authorities, the “ Arabian 
Nights” and the “ Tales of the Genii and he soon 
found that a hovel in Rannee-Moodee-Gully is ex- 
tremely unlike the palace of Haroun-al-Raschid. He 
did not find an enchanted “ Basket” to draw him up 
to Paradise, any more than Whittington found that 
the streets of London were actually paved with gold. 
He had to make the Basket for himself. The only 
Genii who came to his aid were his own indomit- 
able energy and perseverance. 

With the Brueres he tarried for a few months 
— partly in Calcutta, partly at their country resi- 
dence at Sook-Saugor — a village higher up the 
river. He had landed at a bad season of the year, 
and his hot, young blood was soon at fever-heat. 
Those “ months after the rains,” when the hot 
damps rise from the sodden plains of Bengal as from 
a wet cloth hung before the fire, sent the young ad- 
venturer, as they have sent many another young 
adventurer, to his bed. He was taken, convalescent, 
to Sook-Saugor, where the cold weather soon re- 
stored him to all the vigor and elasticity of robust 
youth ; and he began to long to be “ up and doing.” 

Erom Bengal he was soon transplanted to Behar. 
In December, 1786, we find the young adventurer at 
Gyah, resident in the house of Mr. Law, who sterns 



to have received him and cherished him with all the 
kindness of a father. How they first became ac- 
quainted is not known. But their intercourse was 
held in affectionate remembrance by both to their 
dying day. Thirty or forty years afterwards Mr. 
Law wrote from America : “ In India I passed my 
youthful days. Ask Tucker if he remembers the 
stout white pony that used to run away with him on 

our shooting parties. M writes me how Tucker 

and he are exerting themselves. I glory in such 
friendship.” He had reason to glory in it. It is 
hard to say how much the friendship and hospitality, 
which he extended to the homeless boy at the outset 
of his career, contributed to make the ripe Indian 
statesman, who, sixty years after their first meeting 
in Behar, was writing to the Governor-General from 
the chair of the India House letters of instruction 
and advice. 

I need not tell any one even slenderly acquainted 
with the administrative history of India during 
the last quarter of the eighteenth century, that Mr. 
Thomas Law was that collector of Behar, of whom, a 
few years later, it was said that he was the “ Father 
of the Permanent Settlement.”* Lord Cornwallis 
was Governor-General of India. The settlement of 
the landed revenue of the provinces of Bengal, Behar, 
and Orissa, was at this time the chief object of his 
care. One experiment after another had been tried. 
Each had been unsuccessful. Ever since the East 

♦ Every one has heard the comprehensive description of Robert Boyle — 
that he was “ The Father of Chemistry and the brother of Lord Cork.” I 
have heard Thomas Law, with the same ludicrous infelicity, described as the 
Father of the Permanent Settlement and the brother of Lord Ellenborough,** 



India Company had “ stood forth as Dewan,” the 
adjustment of the land-tax had been the standing 
difficulty of our administrators. The land was, 
somehow or other, to he made to yield a certain 
amount of revenue for the exigencies of the State ; 
but how that revenue was to be yielded in a manner 
advantageous alike to the Governed and the Govern- 
ing, was a question which demanded all the know- 
ledge and the experience of the ablest Indian states- 
men to solve. It was pretty well agreed, both at 
home and abroad, that the settlement should be made 
with the Zemindars, but whether for a fixed period 
of years, or in perpetuity, was a point much open to 
debate. It was certain, at least, that the system of 
short leases had nothing to recommend it. It had 
been tried, and it had disastrously failed. The 
choice lay between the granting of long leases at a 
fixed rate, and the unalterable assessment of the 
amount to be paid by the Zemindar. After years of 
consideration and discussion, the latter alternative 
was adopted ; and what is now known as the “ Per- 
manent Settlement ” became the law of the land. 

Now, among the foremost supporters and the 
most strenuous advocates of this “ Mocurrery,” or 
Permanent System, was Mr. Thomas Law, collector 
of Behar. He was a revenue-officer of ripe experi- 
ence, and a man of a humane and kindly disposition. 
The welfare of the natives by whom he was sur- 
rounded had a cherished place in his heart, and 
whether he judged rightly or wrongly in contending 
for the perpetuation of the settlement, it is not to be 
doubted that he was rooted in the conviction that it 



would contribute to the happiness of the people. 
What he believed so firmly himself he impressed 
forcibly upon his young disciple ; and he had good 
reason to be proud of his pupil. Whilst still in the 
prime of life, Thomas Law carried the fortune which 
he had acquired in India to the Western World; and 
nearly half a century afterwards it often gladdened 
his aged heart in the far-off American city, in which 
his Indian earnings were invested, to think that 
among the ablest, the most earnest, and the most 
influential supporters of the Permanent Settlement, 
was the homeless boy who had eaten the curry, 
ridden the pony, dwelt in the bungalow, and listened 
to the precepts of the some-time collector of Behar. 

It was here, under Mr. Law’s roof, that young 
Tucker first began seriously to study the peculiari- 
ties of native character and native institutions, and 
to ponder over the intricacies of our system of go- 
vernment, and its effect upon the welfare of the 
people. “ The first year of my residence in India,” 
he wrote in 1847,* “ I passed in Behar (chiefly at 
Gyah), and there I received impressions very favor- 
able to the old Mahomedan families, whose fate ex- 
cited my commiseration. I met at different times 
Gholaum Hussein Khan, the author of the * Seer 
Mutakhereen,’ and he appeared to me the finest spe- 
cimen of a nobleman I had ever seen. I have never 
lost the impressions which I received of the harsh 
treatment which many of the old families had expe- 
rienced at our hands ; and I have since fought the 
battle of many of the chieftains whose territories we 

* To Sir George Clerk. 



have confiscated.” These early impressions, indeed, 
were never effaced.* As strong were they at eighty 
as at eighteen. One of the last papers he ever wrote 
— it was written by an octogenarian hand that had 
lost none of its pristine vigor — was in defence of the 
rights of the titular head of the great family of Ma- 
homedan chiefs. 

To the study of the native languages he addressed 
himself assiduously from the first, t It is related of 
him that about this time he translated, whenever he 
had leisure for the task, “ Fergusson on Perspec- 
tive,” into Persian, to a native painter, who, like the 
majority of his brethren, had little knowledge of the 
principles of his art. Although we are told that 
sometimes, lacking words to render his ideas, he 
illustrated them with his pencil, it is not improbable 
that we ought to refer this incident to a later period. 
Even a friendly biographer may question the ability 
of a boy of seventeen, who had been only a year in 
the country, to translate a scientific work into one 
of the Oriental languages. 

* Sonic of the old Hindoo Zemindars, also, with whom he made acquaint- 
ance at this time, long held, and were long held by, him in kindly remem- 
brance. Even as long afterwards as the year 1835, Rajah Mitteijeet Sing, 
“ the oldest of the Company’s Zemindars under the Mocurrery Settlement,” 
wrote to thank Mr. Tucker (then an East India Director) for continuing to 
leinember him, “Our acquaintance,” wrote Mr. Tucker, in reply, “com- 
menced when I was a boy at Gyali ; but although our personal intercourse has 
ceased for a great number of years, 1 have always taken an interest in the 
welfare of my friend and in the prosperity of his country.” 

f He often discoursed, in after-days, upon the eccentricities of the Moon- 
shec with whom lie studied at Gyali— a man who believed himself to be a 
sort of Admirable Crichton in a turband and cummerbund, and who was just 
as ready to prove his poetical powers by reciting a drama of his own compo- 
sition, as his agility by jumping out of window. 



What, however, is related in scattered memoranda 
about young Tucker’s sporting exploits at this time, 
may all be received without stint or qualification. 
He often spoke, in after-life, about his hog-hunt- 
ing experiences in Behar. * Accustomed from early 
childhood to equestrian exercise — with a good seat 
in the saddle, with strong nerves and an active 
frame, he was just the sort of youth to delight in 
manly sports of this kind ; and he was often, there- 
fore, the companion of Mr. Law in his excursions 
into the jungle. There is more in these excursions 
than the routine-men of London and Liverpool can 
rightly appreciate. When they hear of our Indian 
officials living much in the saddle, and spending 
many hours of the day, at certain seasons, gun in 
hand, it seems to them that pleasure is followed 
rather than business, and that the administration is 
at a stand-still whilst judges and collectors are tiger- 
hunting and pig-sticking in the jungles, or following 
smaller game on the plains. But there is nothing 
more certain in the philosophy of Anglo-Indian go- 
vernment than that the gun and the hog-spear are 
excellent administrators, and that without such ser- 
viceable allies our civil functionaries would be much 
less equal to their work. It is hard to say how 
much is learnt — often, indeed, how much is done — 
during these sporting excursions, which outwardly 

* Hog-hunting was his favorite diversion. “ I like hog-hunting better 
(than tiger-shooting),” he wrote, in an unfinished work descriptive of tho 
country and the people, embraced in a series of imaginary epistles. “ This is 
a very manly sport, which requires much more personal exertion, and excites 
more emulation.” 



represent nothing more than the leisure and the 
amusement of our Indian administrators. In Eng- 
land, business and pleasure are antagonistic ; in 
India, they often go hand-in-hand. 

We may be sure that neither Law nor Tucker, 
when he took the gun into his hand, was altogether 
wasting his time. Something, however, even worse 
than this, had like to have come out of one of these 
sporting adventures. One day, by some wretched 
mischance, young Tucker had the misfortune to 
shoot Mr. Law. The accident proved not to be a 
serious one ; but the former never forgot the uncon- 
trollable agony of mind in which, thinking that he 
might have killed his benefactor, he flung himself 
upon the ground and gave way to his transports of 

In the cold weather of 1787-88 Henry Tucker re- 
turned to Calcutta. It would appear, that at this 
time he held a small uncovenanted appointment in 
the Secretariat Department, the salary of wliich was 
200 rupees a month, or about 250/. a year. It is 
probable that this appointment had been procured 
for him through the instrumentality of Mr. Law, 
and that a certain time had been allowed him 

* Mr. Tucker used to relate another story, in illustration of liis sporting 
experiences in Beliar, of a much less serious kind. He was out one day with 
Mr. Law and some other gentlemen, when a native suddenly rushed forward, 
and in a passion of mingled rage and grief, exclaimed, “ You have killed my 
mother.” Thinking that a misdirected shot had brought down some venerable 
matron, the English gentlemen began to experience the liveliest emotions of 
concern, which, however, were soon dissipated on discovering that the parent 
whom the poor fellow so emphatically bewailed was no other than— his cow. 



wherein to join his office and commence his duties.* 
In the mean while his salary was drawn, or received 
for him, by an agent in Calcutta, and as he was 
living, at no charge to himself, under the hospitable 
roof of his friend, he allowed it to accumulate in his 
attorney’s hands, only applying it to the purpose of 
defraying such small expenses as it was necessary 
to incur for clothes and other articles of equipment. 
He expected, therefore, to find on his arrival at the 
Presidency a little fund at his disposal, and, at all 
events, a score clear of liabilities. But to his dis- 
may he discovered, on arriving at Calcutta, that the 
house of business in which his pay had been lodged, 
had failed a short time before, swallowing up his 
little all, and leaving his debts unpaid. 

This was a heavy blow to the young adventurer, 
but it did not dishearten him. Indeed, there was 
nothing very appalling in the prospect before him. 
He had an appointment, with a salary attached to 
it, equal at least to that drawn by the majority 
of his cotemporaries in India, and far higher than 
the emoluments enjoyed by striplings of eighteen at 
home. But the curse of Debt sate more heavily 
upon him than upon the greater number of youths, 
in the one country or the other. In India it sits far 
too lightly upon young men for their future happi- 
ness and respectability. Fortunately, young Tucker 
— and it is hard to say how much of his success he 

* The precise date at 'which Mr. Tucker received this his first appointment 
in the public service, the biographer has not been able to ascertain. 



owed to it — had a habit of looking every diffi culty 
in the face. With such a habit as this no man is 
ever ruined. There is safety in it past counting. 
No sooner did this young adventurer find hims elf 
in debt than he resolutely set himself to the great 
work of getting out again. And he succeeded before 
two years had worn to a close. He paid all off by 
monthly instalments.* Before the year 1789 dawned 
upon him, he found himself clear of debt — still a 
clerk in the Secretary’s office, with 200 rupees a 

In this appointment he continued throughout the 
year 1788. It would seem that even at this early 
period the abilities of the youthful clerk were not 
lost upon his official superiors. Mr. Hay was at this 
time at the head of the department. It is related 
that such was his confidence in young Tucker, who 
Avas then only in his eighteenth year, that when the 
claims of Mr. Keir to a grant of the exclusive privi- 
lege of working the iron mines in the district of 
ltamghur came before Government, he entrusted the 
duty of drawing up a report on the subject to the 
young uncovenanted assistant. This was the first 
official paper which he ever wrote. Based upon in- 
formation which he collected from the records of his 
office, it took a comprehensive survey of the whole 
question, and conveyed the views of Government 

* During six or eight months of this time he managed to secure the privi- 
lege of free quarters in Writings Buildings. It was at this time that he made 
the acquaintance of Mr. James Stuart, then a writer in the Buildings, with 
whom his intimacy lasted for life. 



with so much clearness and precision, that it was 
immediately approved and adopted.* 

At the close of the year 1788 he again quitted 
Calcutta. He had been appointed assistant to the 
Commercial Resident at Commercolly and Hurriaul. 
This appointment he held for the space of a year, 
retaining the same salary as in the Secretary’s office ; 
but he had reason to deplore his departure from 
Calcutta. He soon won the esteem and confidence 
of Mr. Taylor, the Resident, who placed him in 
charge of the Hurriaul Factory, and who offered him 
an appointment, with a doubled salary, if he would 
consent to remain there. But the occupation was 
not congenial to him. The Resident was a well- 
meaning, kind-hearted man, but thoughtless and in- 
considerate. Unpunctual in his habits and irregular 
in his office hours, he often kept his young assistant, 
fasting and weary, at his desk, in a close, hot room, 
two or three hours after sunset, until, utterly ex- 
hausted with want of food and rest, his head sunk 
on the table before him. The temptation of an in- 
creased salary was not sufficient to induce him to 
lengthen out such servitude as this ; so at the end of 
the year 1789 he withdrew from his situation at 
Hurriaul, and returned to Calcutta. 

The year at Hurriaul may not have been plea- 
santly, but that it was profitably spent is not to- be 
doubted. There are the best possible proofs extant 

* Sixty years afterwards Mr. Tucker referred to this boyish report, in a 
paper on the Porto Nuoyo Ironworks. 



that young Henry Tucker grew rapidly in knowledge 
and experience, and that, at an unusually early 
age, he was competent to give an opinion on those 
vexed questions of Indian administration— especially 
those relating to the collection of the revenue — 
which have puzzled men of ripe judgment and well- 
exercised ability. It was no small thing, indeed, 
that a youth, still only in his eighteenth year, should 
be encouraged to write letters on fiscal matters to 
one of the most experienced revenue-officers in the 
country — no small thing that he should write such 
letters as now, after a lapse of sixty years, are to he 
read by grown men, with pleasure and profit, not as 
curiosities with the infant-phenomenon stamp upon 
them, but as papers of intrinsic value, admirably 
written, and full of instruction. In the course of this 
year 1789 he wrote some long letters to Mr. Law, a 
few of which have fortunately been preserved. The 
style differs but little from that of his more mature 
productions. Indeed, it q^ust occur forcibly to all 
who, like myself, have studied Mr. Tucker’s writings, 
from the earliest to the latest, extending as they do 
over a period of more than sixty years, that his style, 
formed in very early youth, underwent, during all 
the mutations of life, no material change, and that 
there was neither crudeness in boyhood, nor feeble- 
ness in extreme old age. Alike at eighteen and at 
eighty, it had all its meridian clearness and force. 

Often in the Bungalow — often in the Jungle — 
during that ever-gratefully remembered year in 
Behar, had Thomas Law and Henry St.George 



Tucker discoursed, gravely and earnestly, about the 
administration of the land-revenue, the rights of the 
Zemindars, and the protection of the actual culti- 
vators of the soil ; and often since had the latter, at 
his desk in the Hurriaul Factory, revolved these 
weighty matters in his mind, and reduced to some- 
thing like order and method his scattered hut not 
superficial ideas. And now, towards the close of 
the year, when leisure would permit, he gave bodily 
expression to these ideas — with what success it is 
. my object to show.* 

“ My dear Mr. Law,” he wrote to his friend in 
one of these letters, “ permit me to submit to your 

* It would seem that Mr. Tucker’s first impressions of the state of the 
country and the character of the Anglo-Indian residents at the Presidency 
were extremely favorable. He endeavored to obtain information from every 
possible source, but he soon found— and the complaint which he made more 
than half a century ago has been very generally echoed during the last in- 
quiries which have been made into the condition of the country — that it 
seldom happened that two informants gave precisely the same account. If 
it were only for the illustration that it affords of the difficulty of obtaining 
correct information relating to the ^ndition of India, the following passage, 
from one of Mr. Tucker’s earliest productions, is worth quoting: — “ I am ucll 
satisfied with the people (I mean the British inhabitants),’ 1 he wrote, “for 
they are hospitable and social, and many of them well-informed and communi- 
cative. There is, I think, a liberality of sentiment which particularly cha- 
racterises them, and which is probably the effect of local circumstances. 
Placed in elevated situations, and enjoying the smiles of fortune, there is 
nothing to nourish a grovelling spirit. I have had occasion, however, to 
make an observation here, which I have often made elsewhere— viz., that it 
is scarcely ever possible to find any two individuals agree upon any one pro- 
position, or even upon any particular fact. I have made much inquiry re- 
specting the country, the people, their customs, laws, &c.; but I have found 
a strange discordance in the accounts which have been given me. Some 
men appear scarcely to observe what passes before their very eyes, or at 
least they pay so little attention to passing objects that they leave no impres- 
sion behind. I think, however, that I can perceive the truth through a great 
mass of contradiction; for both ignorance and prejudice usually betray them- 



tribunal the following observations on the revenues 
of the country, &c., and subjects connected with 
them. I need not, I am convinced, implore your 
indulgent judgment on this occasion, nor need I call 
to your recollection the inexperience of the writer — 
his situation, which almost entirely prevents him 
from dedicating any part of his time to study — and 
his views, which were to improve and form his own 
mind, and to contribute as much as was in his power 
to your pleasures. No ; I am well convinced that 
every circumstance which may tend to excuse my 
errors, or which may in any respect operate in my 
favor, will spontaneously suggest itself to you.” 
And having thus modestly deprecated the criticism 
of his friend, he proceeded to set forth the subjects 
to the consideration of which his letter was to be 
addressed. “ I will first,” he said, “ endeavor to con- 
sider the principle on which Zemindars and other 
proprietors of land in this country hold their re- 
spective tenures. On a knowledge of the nature of 
this principle depends the propriety of the system or 
regulations affecting them. I will next proceed to 
inquire into the state of the lands, and the causes 
which have operated in reducing their value from 
its former standard ; and from the two will, with 
deference, endeavor to draw a result establishing the 
principle of right and expediency on which my sug- 
gestions shall be founded.” 

He then proceeded to show, that as on the subjec- 
tion of a country to a foreign power all property in 
the lands devolve on the conquerors, “ the rights of 




all Zemindars and other landholders ceased on the 
subjection of this country to the British arms.” 

“ On our conquest of this country,” continued the youthful 
writer, “ our situation did not admit of our aspiring to the 
sovereign authority consistently with policy and prudence. It 
was an object of much greater importance to us to obtain the 
territorial jurisdiction, divested of the other superfluous powers 
exercised by the Nabobs — superfluous from their being un- 
profitable, and difficult in the exercise. To this end we sought 
and obtained the Dewanny from the nominal supreme au- 
thority, leaving to the dispossessed Nabobs the Nizamut func- 
tions. The Dewanny confirmed us legally in what we had ac- 
quired by our arms, and gave to our possession a principle of 
right. It conferred, however, only those powers as exercised 
by the former Dewan, and the act of receiving the Dewanny 
imposed on us an obligation never to exceed those powers. To 
ascertain, therefore, the present rights of the subject and of 
Government, it is necessary to recur to the former system. 

“ I cannot, indeed, but be of opinion that the very nature ol 
the functions exercised by the Soubahs of Hindostan precludes 
every idea of the Zemindars possessing a property in the lands. 
Without adverting to the forms of Pottas — to circumstances of 
Zemindars having been displaced at the pleasure of the sove- 
reign, which I have heard alleged in proof of their being agents 
only, but with which I am not myself sufficiently acquainted, 
let me ask whether there is any specific system by which our 
demands from the Zemindars are regulated? whether it is not 
generally understood by both parties that, after deducting from 
the estimated produce of the lands the expense of cultivation, 
and the necessary profits of the Ryot, and subsequently the ex- 
penses of collection, and Nankarry or fund for the subsistence of 
the Zemindar and his family, the surplus is not the right of 
Government legally claimable ? 

u If this be allowed, in what respect does the Zemindar pos- 
sess a property in the lands? in what respect is he considered 
more than an agent of Government? Does he ever appeal 



against unjust demands? Does lie ever set up any plea against 
arbitrary and unequal increases, but that of total inability? and 
yet I believe we have assumed no rights or powers but what 
were exercised by the former Dewan, and which were legally 
consigned to us with the Dewanny. It may be asked on what 
principle we continue to allow dispossessed Zemindars a per- 
centage on the collections, or the value of their lands when 
Government has thought proper to dispose of them. I have 
never heard of such customs having existed under the former 
Government, and if it did not exist, it has not now taken place 
from any principle of right, but of policy and humanity. I would 
not, however, for a moment contend that such a Government 
should exist. I think the consequences attending it must un- 
avoidably defeat the object proposed. To illustrate this, we 
need only recur to the present revenue system of this country, 
where the object is to collect all that can be collected, but 
where the means not only prevent its being attended with suc- 
cess in collecting much, but cause most prejudicial effects, as I 
will endeavor to prove.” 

He then proceeded to describe the system under 
which the Revenue was at that time collected by 
the executive officers of the British Government, 
and the evils resulting from the insufficiency of 
our European control : 

“ The ascertainment and administration of this right of Go- 
vernment is entrusted to the British Revenue Collector — a 
duty inconceivably difficult — a duty hardly ever to be executed 
with justice to the parties. Although the collector should be a 
man of abilities, integrity, and activity (qualities which do not, 
as you have observed, unite in the generality of men), yet in- 
numerable obstacles oppose his ascertaining with moderate 
accuracy what Government with policy and propriety should 
demand, and what the landholder could give. He is entrusted 
with an extensive district, every part of which he cannot 
personally superintend. He has many duties imposed on him 

E 2 



totally distinct from this trust, being from time to time a judge, 
a magistrate, an accountant, and a public correspondent on 
subjects of every description. He is, therefore, not only neces- 
sitated to procure all information on this complicated subject 
through the medium of native agents, but is frequently obliged 
to delegate to them a considerable part of his authority. The 
generality of these (particularly in Bengal) are men venal, ar- 
bitrary, prejudiced, vain of the display of power and patron- 
age, and in short, totally ignorant or regardless of every funda- 
mental principle of honor, rectitude, and justice. The rights of 
Government, with such agents, are a very late consideration. 
Government must indeed inevitably suffer by them, because the 
advantages resulting from a faithful discharge of their duties to 
Government are precarious, distant, and inconsiderable; a collu- 
sion -with the Zemindars offers immediate wealth and conse- 
quence, and is in general to be effected with little danger. Self- 
interest suggests to both parties studied concealment; and no 
prying rival could be expected to come forward and challenge 
unauthorised emoluments which he may hope to enjoy here- 
after himself; his discovery of them would only tend to multiply 
the frauds by multiplying the participators of them. Many of 
the Zemindars are, I believe, by this means enabled to alienate 
the rights of Government to a considerable amount; in the 
certainty of being protected by their official friends, they exercise 
not only a revenue, but a judicial authority in their own districts. 
This is most grievous to the people, and consequently highly 
prejudicial to the country. They sit in judgment in cases where 
they are themselves parties — punish trivial or imaginary offences 
with the greatest severity, and draw a large revenue from crimes 
and forged accusations and collusion with robbers. Under some 
of them no description of property is secure. I have heard of a 
man’s whole effects being confiscated to satisfy their avarice or 
wanton resentments. From their influence they are enabled to 
monopolise the most valuable articles of trade, where the Com- 
pany are not their comptitors; and I have seen instances of 
their claiming the birds of the air and the fish of the river's as 
their property untangible . 



“ Nor is it possible for the collectors, as many of them are 
situated, to prevent these abuses. The injured mendicant must 
travel eighty miles to the Adawlut; and can it be supposed that 
the Zemindar, who has not scrupled to ruin him, will hesitate 
to prevent him in this appeal — that he will not or cannot seize 
and imprison him in the attempt? Such are the oppressions, 
such the powers assumed by many of the Zemindars; nor is it, 
I think, surprising. The causes, I conceive, may be easily ex- 
plained. The Zemindar has not only the demands of Govern- 
ment to satisfy, but the demands of insatiate Dewans and Mut- 
zuddies, and securities, with whom, though a collusion secures 
him a more favorable settlement with Government, yet in the 
end proves a most excessive burden to him. He is less disin- 
clined to rack-rent his country, because he is never secure of 
holding it for any time, and consequently considers that to 
gain a little by whatever means, at the present moment, is 
prudence ; to look forward for the effects of moderation and en- 
couragement, wild speculation.” 

Having thus forcibly described the evils of the 
existing system, he went on to suggest a remedy. 
The remedy was that for the application of which 
Mr. Law had long been contending — a definite as- 
sessment of the land to he fixed by Government in 
perpetuity. “ These evils,” now wrote his young cor- 
respondent, “ are the necessary effects of the system ; 
they are, I think, only to be obviated by an entire 
change of it, by annihilating the principles of the 
former and present Government (which I certainly 
th i nk are that the Zemindar is not proprietor of the 
soil), by making the dues of Government fixed and 
determinate ; and thus preventing the intrigues and 
embezzlements of intermediate oflicers ; by making 
it the Zemindar’s interest to nurse his country and 
protect his people, and, in short, by adopting your 



Moowrrery plan, to which (were I of sufficient con- 
sequence to use such language, I would say) I give 
my wannest approbation.” 

Thus broadly stating his opinions in favor of the 
Permanent System — opinions from which he never 
wavered to the day of his death — he proceeded to dis- 
course on the rate of assessment and the probability 
of the land being capable, under more favorable cir- 
cumstances, of yielding a larger amount of revenue 
to the State than under the system then existing — 
a system, as it was, of temporary leases and fluctu- 
ating assessments. He believed that, though certain 
tracts of land might be so improved as to bear a 
higher rate of assessment, the land generally could 
not be so productive — or, rather, that landed invest- 
ments could not be so generally remunerative — 
under our rule as under the government of the 
Moguls. The arguments which he adduced are in- 
genious ; and they exhibit an extensive acquaintance 
with the commercial status of Bengal, very remark- 
able in one who had resided so short a period in the 
country. They afford, as I have said, a pregnant 
proof of the good uses to which young Henry Tucker 
had turned his connexion with the Commercial 
Agency of Hurriaul, although they are not, in all 
cases, borne out by the results of the last half 
century : 

“ It has been alleged,” he wrote, “ as an argument against it 
(the Permanent System), that Government will be deprived of 
a very considerable part of their right, since they will be cat off 
from all participation in the improvement of the lands, which, 


from the effects of bad management, are at present valued much 
below their former standard, and from which a much larger 
revenue might in time be expected. I certainly think that the 
lands are at present in some places much under-rented; and this 
ought to be fully ascertained previous to fixing the settlement. 
I do not, however, agree that they would ever improve gene- 
rally , under the present system; and lam decidedly of opinion 
that, except in particular small spots, they never can, for physi- 
cal reasons, pay, while under the British Government, the re- 
venue they afforded under the Moguls; for although by che- 
mical analysis of the soil, it would, I do not doubt, be found 
resolvable into the same distinct principles, having the same 
inclination to feed vegetation as thirty years ago, yet that its 
value has undergone a necessary change I am convinced in my 
own mind, and will endeavor to prove. 

“ I will pass over two causes which might be assigned — viz., 
the depopulation, occasioned by the famines of 1770 and 1788, 
and the mismanagement which has taken place in some of the 
districts, as the effects of these are not permanent, and may be 
removed by time, care, and better agency. There are causes 
which are, I think, irremoveable ; and these I will proceed to 
particularise : 

“ 1st. There is not so great a consumption of the valuable 
articles of produce, as under the Mussulman Government. 

“ 2nd. The revenue collected from the lands is not again cir- 
culated and retained in the country. 

“ 3rd. European individuals remit their private fortunes to 
England and other parts ; and drain this country of its specie. 

“ 4th. The Company monopolise; and there is no perfect 
equality of trade subsisting in any of its branches. 

“ In the Mogul Government the revenues collected by the 
Prince were returned to the country with very little diminution ; 
they were dispersed in various courses through every depart- 
ment of the people, and kept in constant circulation. The 
subject enjoyed affluence and ease, and was enabled to indulge 
himself in all the luxuries the country produced. There was an 
unceasing demand for paun, opium, salt, oil, sugar, tobacco, and 



other articles of luxury, all of which are most valuable to the 
cultivator. These were produced in great abundance, and must 
have afforded an immense revenue; for I have heard, both from 
the Ryots and others, that a beega of paun yields in the year an 
income of at least thirty rupees. The cultivation of these articles 
is now very confined — the people are poor — their demand for 
them consequently small — and some of them are introduced at 
the markets through the medium of monopolies; the value of 
the lands, therefore, must of course be diminished, because the 
value and quantity of their produce is diminished. 

“ No free and extensive cultivation of any article can take 
place where there does not exist a free sale for it. All mono- 
polies, therefore, must be highly prejudicial. They check in- 
dustry, enterprise, and effectually prevent every improvement. 
The cultivator, who knows that he has no choice of purchasers, 
that his property is subject to arbitrary and unjust valuation 
from the impossibility of his disposing of it, should he not ac- 
cept the terms of the only purchaser, will not labor but from 
absolute necessity. No spirit of avarice, no desire to aggrandise 
himself or his family, will excite those exertions so necessary to 
the welfare of the State. He will live in apprehension, inse- 
curity, and, most likely, poverty. The wealth of the State de- 
pends on the wealth of individuals, and the quantum of labor it 
can call forth.” 

Upon the subject of the evil of Monopolies the 
young writer discourses with an enthusiasm which 
was somewhat cooled down in after-years. Doubt- 
less, some of the circumstances to which he refers in 
the following passage have long ceased to exist — but 
I do not clearly see that these altered circumstances 
go far to promote the argument in favor of Mono- 
polies. Upon the merits of such a question as this 
it would be out of place to discourse in the present 
work ; but it would not be just to introduce the fol- 


lowing passages from this remarkable letter, without 
a word of comment upon the increased confidence 
with which in these days the natives of India regard 
the financial transactions of the British Government. 
“ The natives of this country,” wrote Mr. Tucker, in 
1789, “ are still diffident of us ; and although they 
have no public Banks of their own, nor any secure 
means of placing their money to interest, they are 
still cautious of trusting it with us.” But in recent 
days, whenever the British Government have opened 
a Loan, a very large amount has been contributed 
to it by the natives of the country. The confidence, 
indeed, of the natives of India in the financial in- 
tegrity of the British Government is in these days 
without a limit : 

“ There are other effects equally pernicious to be expected 
from the practice of monopolies, effects which, in my opinion, 
have lately been experienced in this country. I mean with 
respect to the enormous batta which has for some time past ex- 
isted on gold-mohurs, and the late scarcity of grain, which I have 
reason to think was in a great degree artificially increased. 

“ The natives of this country, it is well known, arc still diffi- 
dent of us ; and although they have no public Banks of their 
own, nor any secure means of placing their money to interest, 
they are still cautious of trusting it with us. For this reason, 
trade appears the only mode by which monied men can live, 
without breaking in upon the principal of their fortunes ; but 
the trade in opium, saltpetre, in.the manufacture and whole-sale 
of salt, and in cloths (to a great degree), is monopolised by the 
Company. They consequently have very little choice, and 
they are obliged to employ their money in the purchase of 
grain and the other necessaries of life, and in changing the 
different coins. It might be expected from their number that 



all the good effects of competition, in lowering the price of the 
articles in the market, would necessarily be felt; but this is not 
the case. They are too prudent to ruin each other by endea- 
voring to undersell. They must all have their profits, and 
from the drawbacks they suffer, these must be immense. The 
trade, therefore, is burdened by the number — is absolutely 
weighed down. The necessaries of life come to the market at 
a most unreasonable price; they control the specie undisbursed; 
and have lately shown to the world a feat almost incredible— 
they reduced the standard value of the current gold coin ten 
per cent., and were very near being the death of all trade and 
credit. On the other hand, did a perfect freedom and equality 
of trade subsist — did all traders buy and sell on the same foot- 
ing, I am convinced in my own mind that no monopoly of 
silver could ever take place, and that there would be very little 
probability of a monopoly of grain. The streams of commerce 
being open and free, every man would employ his money, be- 
cause he could employ it with a prospect of advantage; every 
man would be enabled to choose the course best adapted to his 
abilities, situation, and circumstances; and these being so far 
consulted, he could afford to trade on a comparatively small 
profit. The inhabitant of one district would not be obliged to 
wander to other parts, because the only free trade of his own 
country was, from circumstances of his situation, inaccessible to 
him ; but fixed with his family, practiced and experienced, he 
would be enabled to proceed in the course pointed out by 
nature, with security and advantage. 

Mr. Bebb, in a late letter to the Board, gives it as his de- 
cided opinion that European traders are a burden to these 
provinces, for the following reasons: That their expenses being 
much greater than the expenses of native merchants of equal or 
superior property, the charges on the trade are consequently 
greater, and the goods come dearer to the market than they 
would through the channel of native merchants; — that if they 
were altogether removed the articles would probably come 
cheaper to the market, the manufacturer be better paid, and in- 
dustry every way encouraged ; — that they purchase at exceeding 


disproportioned prices ill-fabricated goods, and debase the 
manufacture; — that their fortunes, as soon as acquired, are re- 
moved to England, and of course increase the drain so prejudi- 
cial to this country. As I think this opinion ill-founded and 
unjust, and that it would be most impolitic in Government to 
adopt it, I shall take the liberty of commenting on it at large, 
although it is not very nearly connected with the subject in 

“ The three first reasons assigned appear to me contradictory. 
If native merchants live at less expense than Europeans, and at 
the same time purchase at the same rates, they can afford to sell 
at a less profit; but it is a fact, and indeed a fact to be expected, 
that native merchants purchase cheaper than Europeans, because 
living among the manufacturers, connected with many of them, 
and personally known to them all, they are enabled to take 
every advantage of time and circumstances ; they are artful and 
intriguing, acquire an influence over the ignorant manufac- 
turers, and act upon their fears and prejudices, whenever this 
may be convenient to accomplish their ends. How, then, does 
it happen that Europeans bear any part against such formidable 
competitors? Native merchants could at present afford to give 
a better price, and to encourage industry equally well, as were 
all Europeans removed from the Aurungs; why, then, do they 
not give a better price, and by that means engross the trade 
entirely to themselves? or why, giving the same price, are they 
not content to sell at more moderate rates than Europeans, and 
thus exclude them from all participation in the commerce? 
The third reason, however, conveys an idea that at present not 
only industry, but indolence is encouraged ; * ill-fabricated 
goods are purchased at exceeding disproportioned prices.’ With 
these Europeans the fortunate manufacturer finds a ready and 
advantageous sale for goods, which, from sickness, inexperience, 
or circumstances of his situation, he has not been able to fabri- 
cate with the usual degTee of perfection. Could industry receive 
a greater encouragement? If it be injudicious, why do not the 
native merchants take advantage of it, since it is undoubtedly 
in their power? 



“ But in removing Europeans, a still further encouragement 
to the manufacturers is proposed — a still greater price is to be 
given. Should this take place, is it not natural to suppose that 
they would be so far dazzled with their prospects, that paying 
no attention to the quality of the fabric, their sole exertions 
would be directed to increase the quantity? Indeed, this is 
the effect complained of from the present disproportioned 
prices ; but an increase would hardly remove it. 

“ The causes which appear to me to operate in preventing 
native traders from bearing a successful competition against 
European merchants, are — their want of credit, and the conse- 
quent necessity of their paying exorbitant interest for their 
money — their want of activity, knowledge of foreign markets, 
judgment in preferring splendid but distant hopes to small but 
quick returns, and, in short, their want of those qualifications 
which determine the judicious and experienced merchant. For 
the honor of our country, it will not, I trust, be alleged that 
Europeans are more arbitrary, unjust, oppressive, or more in- 
clined to use force in their purchases than natives; indeed, it is 
not so, nor could it ever be so while there is a watchful Com- 
mercial Resident ready to inspect, and authorised in taking cog- 
nisance of their illegal acts. 

“ That European individuals trading in these provinces, and 
who may acquire and subsequently remove fortunes to Europe, 
are a burden to this country, I entirely agree; but that this 
burden would be diminished, or rather*, that it would not be 
increased by their removal from the provinces, I totally dis- 

“ The act of removing them would not give more credit, ac- 
tivity, judgment, or experience, to the natives; — on whom, then, 
would the trade devolve? Is it probable that they would hold 
a more successful competition against the Company and the 
Company's commercial agents than they have hitherto done 
against European individuals? I think not. The consequence 
then would be that a most destructive monopoly would take 
place. Should the Company not wish to increase their provi- 
sion, their agents, who possess nearly the same advantages with 



them, and who might have credit to any amount from the 
knowledge that they could advantageously employ money to 
any amount, would engross the greater part of the trade. 
Would they, too, he inclined to increase the price ? would 
they, from patriotic motives, encourage industry by paying the 
manufacturer more liberally, or would they settle their im- 
mense fortunes in this country, and thus prevent the drain, so 
prejudicial and so much complained of ? There is no law in 
nature by which we may presume that Commercial Residents are 
better men than commercial individuals. I am, therefore, de- 
cidedly of opinion that, until an entire change be made in the 
present system — until Commercial Agents be restrained from 
trade — these individuals will be of very great advantage to the 
country; they prevent monopolies, and by the competition 
they excite, oblige other purchasers to pay the manufacturer a 
just and liberal price.” 

Some at least of the views here expressed were 
considerably modified in the course of the after-life 
of the writer. But they are cited here mainly to 
show at how early an age Henry St. George Tucker 
had directed all the energies of his mind to the 
elucidation of those great financial and commercial 
questions, upon his comprehensive acquaintance 
with which the reputation of his manhood was 
mainly founded. I am writing here of the early 
promise of his youth; and I think it will he ac- 
knowledged even by the most grudging reader that 
the hoy of eighteen, who could write such letters as 
this,* gave good promise, under favorable circum- 

* As the precise date of this letter is not given, it is right that some proof 
should be afforded of the period at which it was written. The biographer 
cannot be wrong in assigning it to the year 1789 ; firstly, because the writer 
says at the close of it: “I have not yet considered your observations on the 
subject of gunge duties,” &c.; and there is a paper dated early in 1790 upon 



stances, of growing into one of the foremost Indian 
statesmen of the age. 

In another paper drawn up about this same time 
and submitted also to Mr. Law, the young writer, 
who plunged deeply into political economy — pro- 
bably without knowing it — discoursed, at consider- 
able length, on the advantage of raising the principal 
revenue of the country from customs-duties upon 
manufactured articles, rather than resorting, for the 
supplies of the State, exclusively to an immoderate 
land-tax. “ I do not wish it to be understood,” he 
said, “ that I think an entire substitution of duties 
for a land-tax advisable. No; I conceive a perma- 
nent, equalised, and well-regulated land-tax a very 
proper source of revenue. My arguments were ad- 
duced only with the wish to prove that Government 
should not recur to it alone — that moderation in it 
would be fully compensated by the birth or increase 
of other resources, from which they could draw a 
revenue with equal expediency; and, if my argu- 
ments have a just foundation, with greater conveni- 
ence to the subject.” 

And the arguments, indeed, had for the most part 
good foundation — at least, in theory. It is probable, 
however, that in his more experienced years Mr. 
Tucker himself might have questioned whether the 
consuming powers of the great mass of the people, 

this subject of gunge duties, which will be presently quoted; end secondly, 
because he says: “Mr. Taylor wrote to Commer colly, a long time ago, to 
desire tliat silkworm eggs should be sent you immediately; but as we are not 
certain of their haring been despatched, he writes again to-day”— a passage 
which is sufficient proof that the writer was with Mr. Taylor at the time — 
and he was with him only during the year 1789. 


in respect of manufactured articles, had not been 

And as he contended in favor of the partial substi- 
tution of Customs duties for an exclusive and immo- 
derate Land-tax, so in another paper, written in the 
following year, he advocated a resort to these Cus- 
toms or Gunge duties, in preference to a system of 
Excise which Mr. Law had recommended.* He 
seems to have had a very clear conception of what 
the plague of Excisemen would be in such a country 
as Bengal : 

“ In respect,” he wrote, “ to the personal convenience of the 
subject, the Excise is, I think, very objectionable, particularly 
in this country. It necessarily authorises an unrestrained en- 
trance into men’s houses, which in its effects operates as a very 
arbitrary power. An unprincipled Exciseman insists on being 
admitted into the house of a man of character, on searching his 
most private apartments, the recesses of his women, under the 

* Primarily, with especial reference to an Excise on Looms — Mr. Law’s plan 
will be found set forth at some length in his Minute of April 15, 1790. This 
and other papers relating to the revenues of India were printed by him in 
1792, after his return to England, in a volume, entitled “ A Sketch of some late 
Arrangements and a View of the rising Resources in Bengal; by Tbomas Law, 
Esq., late a Member of the Council of Revenue in Fort William.” I have 
never seen more than one copy of it, and that I picked up some years ago at 
an old book-stall. In the Minute to which I have referred, Mr. Law shows 
that the Gunge, or Inland Customs, duties had become very oppressive — that 
“ the commodities of internal produce are burdened in the Bahar province 
equal to twenty or thirty lakhs of rupees, and become too dear to be exported ; 
besides, the merchants quit business disappointed and disgusted; and all this 
for about three lakhs (30,000/.) net Gunge collections. As Government can- 
not afford to relinquish even that, I propose an Excise in preference which may 
be taken on cloth; for the people all require more or less of it, and I think 
that one anna upon every piece above one rupee to three rupees, and two 
annas upon all above this, would not be heavy. With respect to the probable 
gross collections, I cau only guess (they would amount to about four or five 
lakhs), for at present I am ignorant of the internal expenditure and export.” 
It is to this proposal that Mr. Tucker’s remarks mainly refer. 



plea that he conceals goods which have not paid the established 
tax. This admission he can legally insist on; indeed, if you 
tax the whole manufacture, you must allow your officers to 
pervade every place indiscriminately, as the weavers very fre- 
quently make and keep their cloths in their Zenanas, 

“ A man of character would, I conceive, submit to any loss 
sooner than suffer these apartments to be defiled by the intru- 
sion of a rude, profligate stranger. The Exciseman, therefore, 
could exact his own terms for his forbearance. It may be said, 
he may complain to a superior officer; but exclusive of the 
difficulty of redressing the complaints of individuals in this 
country, he will, I think, have no ground to complain, but of a 
power delegated by Government, for the non-exercise of which 
he has been obliged to pay their officer. Supposing the Excise- 
man be convicted and punished, the injured man will thereby 
have deprived himself of the only means of subsequently saving 
his family from insult and disgrace. 

“Consider what an immense number of scoundrels Govern- 
ment must let loose with almost unlimited powers into the 
Mofussil. You must have officers to superintend the clothing 
of every individual in the empire ; their number will be so 
great that Government cannot afford to employ respectable 
men ; they must have people of the lowest class, with the lowest 
salaries, who will have little to lose, but may gain a great deal 
by illegal exaction. The power with which they must of ne- 
cessity be invested will be a most extensive one, and they most 
unfit for the exercise of any power. Besides, every vagabond, 
who cannot better employ his time, and who has no other for- 
tune but resolution , will assume the character of an Excise- 
officer, and patrol the country, exacting from the ignorant and 
helpless weavers ad libitum . He will not, indeed, have the 
stamps of Government to dispose of ; but this rather makes it 
worse, as his exactions will in consequence be confined in a 
great degree to those who may have previously paid. Has not 
this been the case in the collection of all River duties? Every 
petty fellow who could afford to keep a boat became a collector 
of River Customs in the remote parts of the country; and I do 



not think the idea chimerical, when I say that I think there 
would be a great number of forged Excise-officers, besides too 
many authorised by Government; and this must be the case 
with all duties that are not locally stationary.” 

The youthful writer then discourses on the rela- 
tive advantages and disadvantages of Customs and 
Excise in some clever antithetical passages, which 
afford further illustration both of the early bent of 
his mind to financial inquiry, and his premature ac- 
quaintance with the art of composition : 

“ You very justly say that there is an inconvenience attend- 
ing Gunge collections, in stopping and opening packages re- 
peatedly. This certainly has hitherto occasioned great delays 
and consequent loss under the arbitrary system established by 
the Zemindars; but we have reason to expect improvement in 
this respect; and, at all events, oppression on the merchant 
does not operate so prejudicially as oppression on the weaver; 
and the merchant is likely to be able in a great degree to 
oppose it successfully — the weaver never can. 

“ All collections in Gunges will be public; and oppressions 
will be notorious, and sooner or later reach the ears of the 
Power whose duty it is to suppress them. Excise must be 
collected privately from each individual. A weaver who has 
to pay one anna will not complain at two being exacted; re- 
dress would not compensate for the trouble and expense attend- 
ing it. A merchant may find his account in complaining of a 
considerable exaction: restitution to him may be of conse- 

“ For this reason I conceive that taxes which fall in gross 
are much less liable to admit of extortion than those which fall 
upon articles singly. 

“ I confess that I think with you that Government are 
more likely to be defrauded in their Gunge duties than in 
their Excise; but for the foregoing reasons I think the subject 



less likely; and you yourself allow that it is better Government 
should be defrauded a little, than the subject 

4< Mr. Blackstone, I think, could not have had any idea of 
this country, when he said that Excise was a less expensive tax 
than Customs. Excise takes from each individual weaver — 
Customs from the merchant ; the one taxes every piece of 
cloth separately — the other, bales and cargoes; the one moves 
about through every part of the country — the other is sta- 
tionary. There must consequently be an infinity of officers to 
collect the Excise ; the accounts of it will be more diffuse and 
complicated; and the expenses of Government of course greater. 

“ I certainly think that duties should be levied on the manu- 
factured article, and not on the raw material, as I have said in 
the short paper I gave you on the subject; but this is no argu- 
ment against Customs; why may not they be levied exclusively 
on the manufactured article, as well as the Excise? 

“ After so much on the particular effects of the two taxes, I 
will for a moment recur to their respective principles. The 
Excise is a tax upon the whole manufacture — Customs upon 
that part alone which comes into circulation. The Excise, 
therefore, holds forth the prospect of a greater produce than 
Customs; but I do not think that in reality it has any superi- 
ority in this respect. Why should you tax the grain which 
the Ryot retains for his own subsistence; or the piece of cloth 
which the manufacturer makes for his own use; or, indeed, 
the grain and cloth which these two mutually exchange? 
There can be no great advantage in taxing them ; there may 
be an advantage in omitting it — for we are then sure that our 
taxes do not prevent these useful subjects from being well 
clothed and fed. They must be well clothed and fed if you 
wish population to increase, and your country to flourish. 
Their surplus labor they would carry to market; and from this 
levy as much as you can without suppressing commerce: but, 
in fact, you cannot suppress commerce unless you are very ex- 
orbitant indeed in your demands, if you only tax the surplus 
labor of the manufacturer and Ryot after they are clothed and 
fed, because they have very few other wants, and could afford 



to give their cloths and grain for a very trifle above the taxes 
of Government. Those articles, therefore, could not be dear: 
cheapness is the very life of commerce." 

“ Prom all these crude, undigested arguments,” 
he wrote in conclusion, “ I wish to prove that 
Gunge duties are likely to be nearly as productive 
on the same article as an Excise ; more convenient 
to the subject, less expensive in collection; less 
likely to admit of undue exaction, or to be evaded, 
because, at the time of paying them, the subject 
receives an equivalent advantage. The Excise de- 
stroys one of the dearest rights we possess — that of 
being sole and undisturbed lords of our own house 
and domain as long as we conform to the laws of 
our country.” And then he added, still addressing 
Mr. Law, this postscript, modestly apologising for 
the confidence with which he had expressed his 
opinions in opposition to those of his older and 
more experienced Mend : — ** Both Gunge and Ex- 
cise duties are good taxes, and when compared with 
a high land-tax, greatly to be preferred. They both, 
however, have advantages and disadvantages, as all 
taxes must have. You have very clearly and excel- 
lently pointed out the advantages of the one ; but 
have not, I think, included all its disadvantages. I 
have endeavored feebly to show some superiorities 
in the other, to which my mind, I must confess, 
inclined ; but some of them are very trifling, and I 
have very probably overlooked many of its defects. 
My mind, however, is open to conviction, and is ten 
thousand times more inclined to doubt its own sug- 



gestions than the accuracy of any one of your opi- 
nions. If I have used any strong expressions, they 
must not be attributed to obstinacy or positiveness 
in my own opinion, but merely to my manner of 

This was written in 1790. Towards the close of 
the preceding year he had returned to Calcutta. 
He had hoped to find employment again in the 
Secretary’s office ; but the appointment" which he 
had held now belonged to another, and there was 
no vacancy in the office. Hoping that one might 
soon occur, he for some time remained as an un- 
salaried attache* — no uncommon thing in India, 
where such waiters upon Fortune are known as 
Omedwars , and few wait wholly in vain. It was 
a sorry time, however, for the young adventurer. 
Sorrier still would it have been, but for the kind 
offices of Mr. Law — now become a member of the 
Revenue Board at Calcutta — who made such ad- 
vances to his young friend as at least enabled him to 
live during this time of painful expectancy. It was 
then, I believe, that Tucker occupied the cellar in 
Rannee-Moodee-Gully , where the rats contended witli 
him for the possession of the wretched tenement, and 
ate the powder and pomatum in his hair, when their 
enemy was asleep. The sixty or seventy monthly 
rupees advanced by the quondam Collector of Behar 
— and the young Omedwar was not one to accept 

* Not, however, before he had endeavored to establish himself in an inde- 
pendent business at Dacca, to which place he proceeded in the early part of 
1790; but the contemplated arrangement was fortunately not brought to an 
issue. The speculation was an unsuccessful one. 



even as a loan more than bare subsistence-money 
— kept tbe wolf from bis door, but could not keep 
off these nauseous vermin. 

He bad other Mends, too, after their kind, and 
never lacked a place at the dinner-tables of those 
who fared sumptuously every day. But it was the 
steady support of Thomas Law that enabled him 
to surmount all difficulties. The youth who whilst 
yet in his teens could write such papers as those 
from which I have quoted, was not one whom any 
official in the country could have hesitated to re- 
commend for Government employment. A place was 
soon found for him. In the course of this year, 
1790, he was appointed assistant to the Accountant 
of the Board of Trade. And soon afterwards another 
office, to which it is an especial pleasure to allude, 
was conferred upon him. He had won the good 
opinion of Sir William Jones, who now extended to 
him a hand of active assistance, and attached him to 
his person as clerk. From these two appointments 
he derived an ample income — and something better 
still than the six hundred rupees a month, which 
was wealth indeed to the boy of nineteen; for there 
could hardly have been better training for him than 
this. In the Accountant’s office he laid broad and 
deep the foundation of his fame as a Financier; 
whilst sitting at the feet of Sir William Jones his 
natural taste for elegant literature found due cultiva- 
tion, and there was little chance of his ever subsiding 
into a mere man of accounts and details. His love 



of literature abided with him to the closing years of 
his life.* 

The year 1791 dawned prosperously on Henry 
Tucker. He was in the enjoyment of good health ; 
he was in possession of a comfortable income ; he 
had paid all his debts ; and, what was more solacing 
to him in his exile than all beside, he was enabled 
to render some essential service to his family in the 
West. Through his instrumentality a commission 
in the Royal Army was obtained for his brother 
George. It is related that he solicited Lord Corn- 
wallis to use his good offices in behalf of the boy, 
and that the benevolent nobleman, upon whom 
Henry Tucker had made a favorable impression, 
cheerfully granted the request, t The sailor-hoy had 
already become the architect of others’ fortunes. 

♦ It is to be lamented that there are no records to be found of Mr. Tucker’s 
connexion with Sir William Jones, beyond brief allusions to the fact scattered 
throughout the writings of the former. u I had also the good fortune,” wrote 
Mr. Tucker on one occasion, “ to be patronised by the late Sir William Jones, 
whose genius seemed to soar above this lower world, and whose love of con- 
stitutional liberty, and whose devotion to literature, impressed me with a 
feeling which I have carried through life.” In another paper he speaks of 
“ Sir William Jones, late the ornament of his country adding, “ In no indi- 
vidual, perhaps, have we ever seen united such diversity of useful and agree- 
able talents. His premature death is ever to be lamented. ‘ I knew him 
well, Horatio.’ ” See, also, “ Memorials of Indian Government,” page 61, and 
note, in which Mr. Tucker says: “I had the honor of being 4 clerk’ to Sir 
William Jones — an honor to which, at this date, I look back with pride.” 
The acquaintance between them commenced as far back as 1788, in which 
year the young uncovenanted clerk was elected a member of the Asiatic 
Society, under the auspices of the great Orientalist. 

t Mr. Tucker, throughout all the succeeding years of his life, spoke of Lord 
Cornwallis in language of the wannest veneration. In a memorandum extant 
in his handwriting, he says : “ I had the good fortune in the early days of my 
boyhood to enjoy a pure atmosphere. I first served under the great and good 



But the ladder of official promotion — especially to 
one in the “ Uncovenanted Service” — is of very slow 
ascent ; and eager as he was to benefit his family at 
home, Henry Tucker was readily persuaded to try a 
shorter, though more perilous road to fortune. To- 
wards the dose of 1791 he joined a house of busi- 
ness, of which Mr. John Palmer — afterwards the 
Prince of Indian Merchants — was the chief member. 
The house failed before the young adventurer had 
been many months connected with it, and what was 
to him a heavy amount of responsibility was thrown 
upon him as a partner.* This was a mighty blow, 
and one the weight of which he felt for many a year. 
But with that brave habit of never shrinking — of 
never turning aside from the contemplation of an 
obtrusive difficulty, he looked the evil steadfastly in 
the face, and he determined, if God willed, to live it 
down. It took him ten years to wrestle with the 
calamity; but the work which he set himself he 
fairly accomplished. He paid his share of the debt 
— principal and interest. But the anxiety which it 
inflicted, and the privations it entailed upon him, 
well-nigh cost him his life. 

But the tide was again about to turn — nay, it had 

Lord Cornwallis, who was the perfect personification of disinterestedness and 
patriotism. He steadily enforced the principles of justice; he saw no object 
but the honor and the interests of his country.” And this, indeed, is no more 
than the language of unexaggerated truth. 

* It is probable that I am not strictly correct in speaking of a “house of 
business;” and that it ought rather to have been said that, associated with 
Mr. John Palmer, he entered into certain mercantile speculations, which were 
not successful. In the year 1791, Mr. Tucker was in his minority, and could 
hardly, therefore, have been a partner in a house of business. He was not 
legally responsible for its debts. 



already turned, although he knew it not — in favor 
of the young adventurer. Early in the following 
year he had gone down — partly for the restoration of 
his health, partly for the transaction of some busi- 
ness — to the Coromandel Coast, when glad tidings 
reached him from England. He had been appointed 
a member of the Company’s Covenanted Civil Ser- 
vice. There would have been nothing now to mar 
the completeness of his happiness — if it had not been 
for the Incubus of Debt. 

It is believed that this appointment was procured 
for him mainly through the influence of his excellent 
friend Thomas Law. In the course of the year 1791, 
this worthy man and valuable public servant was 
driven to England by ill-health. He soon abandoned 
the idea of returning to the East, and pitched his 
tent in the W estem W orld. He had been the friend 
of Cornwallis in the one, and in the other he allied 
himself with the old antagonist of his former master.* 
He married a niece of Washington, and in the city 
which bears the name of that great man he passed 
the remainder of his life. Once or twice, in his old 
age, he visited England, and renewed his ever- 
cherished intimacy with the friend of his early 
days. Then it was his turn to use the language of 
gratitude. “ I shall often think,” he wrote, “ with 
the essence of pleasure in my eyes of your and Mrs. 
Tucker’s kindness.” 

And up to the last, he thdught affectionately of 

Antagonistic by circumstance— but in character how alike! 



his old work, and was zealous for the extension of 
the Mocurrery system, which he had advocated so 
warmly in those never-forgotten olden times in Behar. 
“On my arrival in England,” he wrote to Mr. 

Tucker, “ G , M , and others told me of the 

breach of faith to the natives in the Ceded and Con- 
quered Provinces. My feelings dictated and my 
hand obeyed, and I rejoice that at sixty-eight my 
instinctive impulses were strong enough to make 
me read, and copy, and think. Your exertions have 
given the crown to my trifle, and you will, I hope, 
live to see success, and to have your labors duly ap- 
preciated. I rejoice that Gyah produced Barlow, 
you, and me. Henceforth I shall relinquish politics 
and finance — * hie ccestus artem que repono.’ ” Not 
long after this he was translated to the land where 
all Settlements are Permanent. He died on the 
30th of July, 1834, and lies buried in the city which 
owes so much to his enterprise and zeal. 




Appointment of H. St.G. Tucker to tlie Covenanted Civil Service — Employed 
in the Accountant-General’s Department — State of the Civil Service— The 
Administration of Sir John Shore— Mr. Tucker appointed Register in 
Rajshye — His intimacy with Henry Colebrooke — Appointed to the Secre- 
tariat — Rise in the Department — Arrival of Lord Wellesley — Mr. Tucker’s 
Services— Visit to Madras— Anecdotes of Lord Wellesley — Return to Cal- 
cutta-Appointed Accountant-General* 

The first appointment held by Mr. Tucker in the 
privileged “ Civil Service” of the East India Com- 
# pany was that of an assistant in the Accountant- 
General’s Department.* He had proved his aptitude 
for business of that kind when in the uncovenanted 
service ; and his mercantile speculations, if they had 
done nothing else, may be presumed to have im- 
proved his knowledge of book-keeping and his gene- 
ral acquaintance with financial affairs. I am not, 
therefore, surprised to learn that his official superiorf 
soon remarked his extraordinary progress, and said 
that in six weeks Mr. Tucker had done what it 
would have taken any one else six months to accom- 

* His appointment bears date October 26 , 1792 . 
t Mr. Larkins. 



The Company’s Civil Service was, at this time, in 
a transition-state — fast merging out of it, it may be 
said, and settling down into solid Respectability. 
Many have been found to question the wisdom both 
of the Fiscal and Judicial Reforms of Lord Corn- 
wallis ; but all acknowledge that under his adminis- 
tration the morality and efficiency of the Company’s 
Services were raised to a height which they had 
never attained before. The civil servants had been 
a mixed race of public functionaries and private 
traders ; and even when open trade had been offi- 
cially prohibited, they had bought and sold through 
the medium of native agents, and relied less upon 
their official earnings than their commercial specu- 
lations for the rapid construction of a fortune. But 
to Lord Cornwallis, as to every other clear-sighted 
man who had not grown up in the midst of this 
deplorable state of things, it was obtrusively appa- 
rent, that to establish a race of honest and efficient 
public servants, it was necessary to give them plenty 
to do, and to pay them handsomely for doing it. 
The State, it was then declared, demanded all the 
time and the activity of its servants, and for this 
exclusive application of their time and their activity 
it was decreed that they should be remunerated with 
sufficient liberality to enable them to secure a com- 
petence for their declining years, without the aid of 
private speculation. It was of little use to prohibit 
the trading of public servants without removing the 
great incentive to it — the difficulty, if not the impos- 
sibility, of making a fortune without it. Cornwallis, 



the first great Indian, statesman who had not grown 
up in one or other of the services, saw this with a 
fresh eye ; and under his administration there rose 
into being a class of well-salaried public functionaries, 
who, whilst they retained the old names of Merchant 
and Factor, had little of the commercial atmosphere 
about them. They became in reality judges, magis- 
trates, and revenue-collectors, and the mask of au- 
thority was now seldom or never used to cover the 
greed of the private dealer. 

But this system, when Mr. Tucker entered the 
service, was not yet perfect in all its parts. To some 
of the lesser appointments insufficient salaries were 
attached.* It is related that in the Accountant- 
General’s office — indeed, throughout the first year of 
his covenanted service — be received only a monthly 
salary of two hundred rupees. During a portion of 
this time he acted as a Commissioner of the Court 
of Requests in Calcutta, f and subsequently, in the 
spring of the following year (1793), as Register to 
the Zillah Court of Raj shy e. Henry Colebrooke 

♦ Writingin 1792, Mr. Law said: “ The Company’s servants are of the best 
families and educations, with dispositions to foster and abilities to improve 
the present system. At present their salaries are inadequate to the import- 
ance of their trusts, and the Governments in India must have lamented the 
sad necessity for cramping and curtailing. When the Company’s finances 
shall become flourishing, I trust that their servants will participate by en- 
larged allowances; indeed, the liberality of States is in general proportionate 
at least with their circumstances. Young men who resign domestic comforts 
and submit to a temporary exile are entitled to ample compensation for such 
sacrifices. All are now feeling the embarrassments of the times in India, but 
I hope they will soon find labor and merit requited by an enriched sove- 

f From December, 1792, to the spring of the following year. 



was then collector of that place. Between him and 
Mr. Tucker an intimacy soon sprung up, which was 
terminated only by death. 

Many grave discussions had they, at this time, on 
the trade and agriculture of the country,* and many 
a good day’s hog-hunting together. In after-years, 
they appeared as brother-authors; but they never 
forgot that they had been brother-sportsmen. Often 
in the decline of life did Mr. Tucker speak de- 
lightedly of his sporting excursions in Raj shy e with 
Henry Colebrooke as his companion; and many a 
story had he to tell to his children of the victories 
they achieved with the spear. 

Nor were these the only delights of his life at this 
time. Letters came to him from his far-off home 
in the Bermudas; and they were such letters as 
gladden the heart of an affectionate son, and inspire 
him with new constancy and courage to bear up 
against all the depressing influences of protracted 
exile. From one at least of these Bermuda letters 
some extracts may be given. They show in what 
light Henry St. George Tucker was regarded at this 
time by the ever-venerated father, from whom he 
was separated in early boyhood. It need only be 
premised that in those days the communication, 
even through England, between the East and West 
Indies, was not only tedious, but precarious : 

* It was at tliis time that Mr. Tucker first directed his attention to the 
subject of cotton cultivation in India, in which he never ceased to take the 
liveliest interest. 



“ St. George’s, May 21, 1793. 

“ It is a great while, my beloved son, since I have had the 
pleasure of a letter from you; your last was dated in February, 
1792 — a long and tedious interval indeed ! Our friends, how- 
ever, in England have informed me that you were well in 
June, which I was rejoiced to hear. The several articles you 
were so kind as to send, by way of Philadelphia, to the care of 
Messrs. Elliston and John Perot, arrived safely. I thank you 
for them ; and your mamma, to whom I have mentioned the 
receipt of them, will, I doubt not, thank you too. Those 
gentlemen (the Messrs. Perot, I mean) have been extremely 
civil; and if you should have it in your power at any time to 
serve them, or make them any little compliment, I should be 
glad you would. 

“ I was afraid, my Hal, that your trusteeship would be pro- 
ductive of much trouble to you; but I hope it will not create 
you any enemies. I was sure it would prove an arduous busi- 
ness; but, arduous as it may have been, I am convinced that 
you will acquit yourself of it with honor and reputation. I 
flatter myself your partnership goes on successfully ; but I must 
own, my son, I never was fond of partnerships — they seldom 
end happily — the generous and unsuspecting too often fall 
sacrifices to the more selfish and designing. They cannot, 
therefore, be entered into with too much circumspection. But 
I have such confidence in your prudence, that I do not dread 
any disagreeable consequences from the engagements you have 
formed. Perhaps your appointment to the service will render 
it necessary to dissolve them. It is a circumstance I should 
not regret; though I by no means wish you to desert the inte- 
rests of your friend. 

“ . . . I am afraid, my son, you apply yourself too 

closely to business. You should be careful of your health. 
Consider how much the welfare of the whole family depends 
upon you! Your life is of inestimable value to every indi- 
vidual of it. As for me, my sand is now running out very 
fast; in a few years, according to the common course of things, 
I must be as if I had never been 



“ I long to know what my poor Geordie is about; and 
whether he stands any chance for promotion. Perhaps the war 
with France may be a means of accelerating such an event. 
Your more than brotherly attention to him he acknowledges 
in all his letters. How much reason have I to bless that Pro- 
vidence which has bestowed on me a son so dutiful, affec- 
tionate, and disinterested as my Hal has on all occasions 
evinced himself to be ! . . . . 

“ I write under great lowness of spirits, my Hal, as you, 
perhaps, will perceive. I am full of apprehensions about your 
dearest mamma — I cannot tell how she will get home to me 
again. The passage from England is long, and the times are 
dangerous. May Heaven, in its goodness, restore her safe to 
us once more ! . . . . 

“ . . . Adieu, my best of sons ! 

“ Your father prays fervently for you. 

“ Henry Tucker.” 

All comment upon such letters is mere imperti- 
nence. I will only add that, in the passages which I 
have given, full justice is not done to the recipient, 
for there is much besides which indicates the self- 
denying generosity of Henry St.George Tucker, but 
to which, as delicate as he was generous, he would 
never have desired an allusion to be made. 

In the course of the year 1793, Sir John Shore, 
of whose appointment to the Governor-Generalship 
mention is made in another letter from the elder 
Tucker, arrived in India and commenced his ad- 
ministration.* Mr. Law, it is there stated, had 
spoken to Shore in terms strongly recommendatory of 

* There was an interval of some months between the two events. Sir John 
Shore arrived in March; but Lord Cornwallis did not take hiB departure 
before October. 



the young civilian ; and the recommendations of the 
old Behar collector were confirmed by Mr. Barlow, 
once his Assistant in Gy ah,* but now Secretary to 
Government in the Revenue Department, and one of 
the most influential men in Bengal. Barlow knew 
that the young man had in him the germs of a first- 
rate Revenue-officer, and the Governor-General, him- 
self, perhaps, one of the best Revenue-officers that 
.ever served in India, was never slow to secure for 
that department all the available talent in the State. 
The Permanent Settlement had by this time become 
the Law of the land, and the disciple of the “ Father” 
of that great measure was one likely to render good 
service in the carrying out of its details. At the 
commencement of the year 1794 Mr. Tucker was 
appointed Assistant to the Register, and afterwards 
Deputy-Register of the Sudder Dewanny and Sudder 
Nizamut Adawluts,+ and Assistant to the Secretary 
to Government in the Revenue and Judicial Depart- 

In this appointment he continued to serve up to 
the year 1796, § when, on Mr. Barlow’s nomination to 
the Chief Secretaryship, he was selected to succeed 

♦ Barlow was Assistant to Mr. Law in the year 1787, when Tucker was at 
Gyah ; and there the intimacy between them commenced. 

f The chief Revenue and Judicial Courts at the Presidency. 

X What was then called “ Assistant Sub- Secretary,” under which designa- 
tion Mr. Tucker’s name is found attached to numerous official papers up to 
the year 1795. 

§ He had, however, some time previous to this been nominated Register of 
the Provincial Court of Patna; but Mr. Cowper, one of the members of 
Council, represented that Mr. Tucker’s withdrawal would be a serious loss to 
the Secretariat, so he was allowed to retain bis old appointment with in- 
creased allowances. 



him as Secretary, or, as official nomenclature went 
in those days, Sub-Secretary in the Revenue and 
Judicial Departments.* Of this period of Hr. 
Tucker’s life, spent as it was in Calcutta, amidst the 
routine- work of his official duties, I have little to 
record. Materials are wanting, and if they were 
not wanting, there would probably be little to say 
about a life, one day of which, in all its external 
environments, differed little from another. + That 
he was all this time laying up rich experiences is 
proved by the writings of his later days, in which 
the inner life of intellectual progress is fairly re- 
flected. During this period he acquired that inti- 
mate acquaintance with the details of the internal 
administration of the country which is so conspicu- 
ous in all that he wrote on the subject. 

All through the years of Sir John Shore’s govern- 
ment — years they were of almost entire repose — 
Henry St. George Tucker worked, as others were 
working around him, diligently and hopefully at the 
desk — seeing there in the chief seat of the empire 
one who had risen through all the gradations of the 
service, and thinking that he might do likewise. But 
there was something more going on all this time 
than the intellectual progress of which I have 
spoken ; there was financial progress, noticeable and 

* The departmental Secretaries were then called Sub-Secretaries, all being 
under one “ Chief Secretary.” 

t I need not say that there is no lack of official letters among the records 
of the India House bearing the signature of Henry St George Tucker — but as 
he was, during the period to which I am now referring, in a subordinate 
capacity, I have no right to identify him individually with the correspondence 
of his department. 



great. The results of the Palmer - and - Tucker 
speculation were still hanging about him; but the 
pile of debt was gradually diminishing ; for with an 
increased income — an income, indeed, which now 
was not less than 1200£. a year — Tucker indulged in 
no increased extravagance, but found the chiefest of 
his pleasures in the contemplation of this diminution 
of the pile of debt which had stood up so afflictingly 
before him. 

He was now, indeed — health and strength being 
granted to him to pursue the career of usefulness for 
which he had been marked out — on the high road to 
fame and fortune. There were great events in the 
womb of Time such as are needed to show the stuff 
of which men of his stamp are made. Reputations 
do not ripen rapidly in quiet times. On the 17th of 
May, 1798, a little man with great aims ascended 
the steps of one of the landing-places of Calcutta ; 
and on the following day the guns of Port William 
announced that there was a change of Government. 

No two men could have less resembled each other 
than Lord Wellesley and Sir John Shore — no two 
administrations could have been more unlike than 
that of the Irish aristocrat and the son of the super- 
cargo. Lord Wellesley came out to India to conquer 
Provinces and perplex the Revenue. It was a great 
time for soldiers and financiers. Lord Wellesley 
had need of them both, and his quick eye knew 
where to find them. 

It was a season of feverish excitement both in the 
East and in the West. Threatened with intern al 
revolt and foreign invasion, England stood in an 



attitude of defence. France, glutted with, the blood 
of her own subjects, was threatening to descend upon 
our shores with an army of 100,000 men, and was 
openly aiding Ireland in the work of rebellion. The 
Alien Bill was revived. The Habeas Corpus Act 
was suspended. There was an unprecedented de- 
mand for money and men. Old taxes were doubled 
and trebled, and new ones, unheard of before, were 
being levied upon the people. It was the life-struggle 
of a great country. 

In the East there was the same danger and the 
same excitement. France, already established in 
Egypt, was pushing her intrigues to the banks of the 
Jumna and into the heart of Mysore. The great 
tide of Mahomedan conquest, which had been rolled 
back by the encroachments of the Feringhee trader, 
threatened again to pour itself down from the fabu- 
lous regions of the Hindoo-Koosh. The son of Hyder 
Ali was grasping, with warm assurances of friend- 
ship, the hand of the descendant of Ahmed Shah. 
The deposed Usurper of Oude was feeding his re- 
sentment by fostering the enmity and the ambition of 
both ; and even the Hindoo Princes, who were ready 
to betray him, were eager to aid with enormous sub- 
sidies the invader whom he invited to Hindostan.* 

The crisis, indeed, was a great one. From one end 
of India to the other the excitement was universal. 
The mighty heart of Anglo-Indian society was stirred 

* It is remarkable that the Rajah of Jyneghur, who subsequently gave up 
this Vizier Ali to the British authorities, offered to subsidise the army of 
Zemaun Shah with whom Vizier Ali was in league. 

G 2 



by one emotion of Patriotism. Men were ready to 
sacrifice their fortunes and their lives in behalf of 
the country which they had quitted in their boyhood. 
In the s umm er of 1798, when Lord Wellesley arrived 
in India, he found that his countrymen were think- 
ing even more of perils at home than of perils 
abroad,* eager to assist the great movement that 
was being made for the defence of the British Isles. 
At all the Presidencies of India, and in all the great 
provincial stations, meetings, known as “ Patriotic 
Meetings,” were being held, for the purpose of testi- 
fying the “fidelity and attachment” of the British 
inhabitants of India to their “ Sovereign and Con- 
stitution,” by sending home not only addresses of 
loyalty and words of encouragement, but voluntary 
contributions of money to aid in the prosecution of 
the war. Prom the chief ruler in Government House 
to the private soldier in his Barracks — every man 
responded to the call; every man contributed ac- 
cording to his means ;+ and gladly endured the priva- 
tions which his patriotic exertions entailed. In this 
frame of mind Lord Wellesley found the British in- 
habitants of India when he looked out for the first 
time upon its white houses and its scorched plains. 
It was a juncture to tax all the energies of the most 
energetic of men. 

Of matters such as these, relating to the general 

* At this time, indeed, all the perils which threatened our Indian posses- 
sions had not yet openly manifested themselves. 

t That excellent man, Jonathan Duncan, Governor of Bombay, contributed 
25,000 rupees. Most of the European soldiers in the country sent home a 
month's pay. 



history of the times, it is hardly the province of the 
biographer to speak. I desire only to show that the 
season was one in which the chief ruler of India 
must have seen that he had need, not only of all the 
best soldiers, hut all the best financiers in the Land. 
To the eye of the unreflecting multitude it appears 
that great battles are fought only by means of 
swords and muskets, guns, howitzers, and mortars ; 
and that so long as we have men amongst us able to 
direct the movements of these swords, muskets, guns, 
howitzers, and mortars, great wars can he carried on 
and great victories can be gained. But the states- 
man knows that there is a mightier instrument still 
than any one of these things — an instrument with- 
out which all these are as nothing — the ever-poten- 
tial money-bag. He knows that the Commander of 
Armies is paralysed if the Commander of the Money- 
bags does not come to his aid. He knows that to the 
success of a campaign financial skill is not less neces- 
sary than military skill, and that if the soldier is to 
triumph, the financier must he found, at the right 
time, equal to the occasion. Perhaps it is less dif- 
ficult to find soldiers than to find financiers ; hut the 
first are sure of popular applause, whilst none take 
heed of the poor wise man who saves the city. Our 
Indian Empire has more than once tottered on the 
brink of ruin — not because swords or bayonets have 
wanted temper, or guns and howitzers the true 
metal, but because the money-bags have been 
emptied by exhausting wars, and it has been far 
more difficult to replenish them than to sweep great 
armies from the field. 



Lord "Wellesley — lie was then known as Lord 
Momington — had halted, on his way to the seat of 
the Supreme Government, for a few days at Madras ; 
and there he had learnt that the state of affairs in 
Mysore called immediately for a hostile demonstra- 
tion against Tippoo Sultan on the part of the British- 
Indian Government. Imperfectly acquainted with 
the condition of the Coast Army and the state of 
the Public Treasury, the young Governor-Gene- 
ral had scarcely taken the oaths of office when he 
sent down instructions to the Madras authorities 
to prepare immediately a military force to march 
into the heart of the Mysore dominions. Such 
a mandate as this burst like a loaded shell on 
the floor of the Madras Council-Chamber. Mr. 
Webbe, whom many years afterwards the Duke 
of Wellington, who knew him well, described as 
“ one of the ablest and honestest of men,” 
was then Chief Secretary, and the main-spring 
of the Coast Government. Lord Momington’ s 
orders filled him with astonishment and dismay. 
“ I can anticipate,” he exclaimed, “ nothing but 
a return of shocking disasters from a premature at- 
tack upon Tippoo in our present disabled condition, 
and the impeachment of Lord Momington for his 
temerity.” He knew that the army was dispersed, 
that the muniments of war were unprepared, and 
that the Treasury was well-nigh empty.* And know- 
ing this he was right. In less emphatic language, 
General Harris, the Commander-in-Chief, urged the 

* The Debt at this time (I79S) was seven millions and a half sterling. 
The deficit for the financial year 1797-98 was about thirty-three lakhs. — 
[ Tucker's Review of Indian Finance .] 


same arguments, whilst, as a soldier, he declared 
his willingness to obey orders. But the Governor- 
General had not been 'many weeks in Calcutta before 
he recognised the great truth, that soldiers cannot 
make war without financiers to help them ; so the 
first orders were countermanded, and it was deter- 
mined to “ take time.” 

Mr. Tucker at this period was young in the ser- 
vice, but he soon fixed the attention of Lord Wel- 
lesley, who had a quick eye for the discernment of 
merit, in whatever direction it lay ; and seldom made 
a mistake. One of the first subjects connected with 
the internal administration of the country to which 
the new Governor-General directed his energies, was 
“ a general revision of all the public establishments 
of Port William,” and the adoption of “ a similar 
measure at Madras and Bombay, as well as at all 
the subordinate settlements and in all the recent ac- 
quisitions from the enemy.”* These establishments, 
for want of proper organisation, had become more 
costly than efficient, and it was believed that the 
same administrative materials might, under an ade- 
quate revision of the existing arrangements, be 
rendered more efficient for the service of the State, 
and less burdensome to the public revenues. A 
special Committee was, therefore, appointed, under 
the immediate superintendence of the Governor-Ge- 
neral, to carry out the details of this revision in the 
Bengal Presidency. It was to consist of the Presi- 
dent of the Board of Eevenue ; one of the members 

* Minute of Lord Mornington, June 12, 1798.— IMS. Records.] 



of the Board of Trade; the Accountant-General, 
and the Sub-Secretary in the Revenue and Judicial 
Departments — Mr. Tucker. “ These gentlemen,” 
wrote the Governor-General, “ I propose to appoint 
to be a Committee for the purpose already men- 
tioned — Mr. Tucker to act as Secretary to the Com- 

It was about this time that Mr. Tucker sub- 
mitted to Lord Wellesley, among other papers re- 
lating to the Public Pinances, a plan for the esta- 
blishment of a new Bank, to be partly under Govern- 
ment control. Some years before* a proposition of 
a somewhat similar character had found some favor 
with the authorities in India, but had been reso- 
lutely discountenanced by the Court of Directors. 
“We have very great doubts upon our minds,” they 
wrote, “ respecting the utility of such an establish- 
ment in India. You are, therefore, to give no 
countenance or encouragement whatsoever to any 
plan or plans that may have been, or may here- 
after be, laid before you by individuals for any such 
establishment, and you are not to admit or receive 
any notes or other engagements from the private 
Banks as a payment in the collection of our Re- 
venues, or in any other department of our public or 
commercial concerns.” + But since this was written, 
the advantages of such an establishment had be- 
come more and more obvious to Indian Financiers. 
Among others, Mr. Tucker had made it the subject 

* In 1786. 

t General letter of the Court of Directors to Bengal, Jan. 10, 1787.— [MS. 
Records .] 



of much grave contemplation ; and before the arrival 
of Lord Mornington be bad completed a scheme for 
the establishment of a Bank, by order of the Go- 
vernor-General in Council, who was to be competent 
to pass such rules and regulations for its better ad- 
ministration as might appear necessary to him. It 
was to be established on a capital of fifty lakhs of 
Sicca rupees, divided into five hundred shares, two- 
fifths of which were to be subscribed by Government, 
and the remainder by private proprietors, who were 
to assume the character of a corporate body. The 
affairs of the Bank were to be managed by nine di- 
rectors, of whom six were to be appointed by Govern- 
ment, and the remainder by the shareholders. The 
notes of the Bank were to be received as legal tenders 
by Government at their Treasury, and other offices 
at the Presidency, but not at the provincial treasu- 
ries. The business of the Bank was to be confine*? 
as much as possible to the discounting of bills and 
the granting of loans, for short periods, for the 
accommodation of merchants and the general con- 
venience of the public — but no larger sum than five 
lakhs of rupees was at any time to be advanced to 
Government, or than one lakh to a private individual. 
Such, in its leading outlines, was the scheme which, 
early in the year 1798, Mr. Tucker had prepared, 
and which, soon after the arrival of Lord Wel- 
lesley, he submitted to that nobleman. The Go- 
vernor-General recognised at once the importance 
of the establishment, and entered with the liveliest 
interest into Mr. Tucker’s general financial views — 



but the great business of the war with Tippoo, and 
the anticipated invasion of India by the French, were 
at this time engrossing his thoughts and consuming 
his energies ; and any statesman might have been 
pardoned in such a juncture for postponing the con- 
sideration of measures which did not press for im- 
mediate adjustment. I shall have more to say on 
this subject in another chapter. The new century 
had not long dawned upon Bengal, when the Bank- 
ing establishment, for the initiation of which Mr. 
Tucker had so ably contended, became what it now 
is — a fact. 

But Napoleon was at this time, on what is now 
the great high road from England to India, issuing 
proclamations from the burning sands, which stretch 
beneath the Pyramids of Egypt. At such a time, 
the physical defence of our Anglo-Indian Empire 
was necessarily the first thought of its rulers. The 
“ defence of the entrance of the river (Ganges) 
against a naval force, and the best means of pre- 
venting the progress of a (hostile) armament, on the 
supposition of its having gained the entrance of the 
river,”* were among the primal objects of Lord 
Wellesley’s concern; and he thought too, at the 
same time, how the French troops might be re- 
ceived, on the great plain of Calcutta, if they were 
to effect a landing at the ghauts of that palaced 
city. The patriotism of the Anglo-Indian residents 
might be turned, he thought, to profitable account. 

* Lord Momington to the Secret Committee, October 30, 1798.— [MS, 
Record *.] 



" We hare resolved,” lie wrote, “ to embody the 
European militia of the town of Calcutta, and to 
form such of your civil servants and others as shall 
offer their services into a body of cavalry, which 
may prepare to act on any emergency.”* And very 
earnestly these “ civil servants and others” re- 
sponded to the call.f There are few now living 
who can recall the actualities of that time of threat- 
ened invasion. But the reign of the Calcutta volun- 
teers extended for some few years into the present 
century, and there are many still amongst us by 
whom its later days are vividly remembered. It 
would be easy to multiply anecdotes illustrative 
of the military eccentricities of the Anglo-Indian 
volunteers ; but they differ little from those which 
are told of the amateur soldiering on the banks of 
the Thames. $ In both cases, the service which they 
would have rendered, in case of an actual invasion, 
still remains an unsolved problem ; but the convi- 
viality and good-fellowship, which the association 
promoted, are recorded facts. 

* Lord Mornington to the Secret Committee, October 30, 1798. — [1/5. 
Records .] 

t In a letter to the Court of Directors, dated Nov. 21, 1798, the Governor- 
General highly commended the promptitude and cordiality with which his 
call had been responded to, declaring that his “ orders had been obeyed with an 
alacrity and zeal,” which “ strongly indicate the resolution of the Company’s 
civil servants, and of all the European and Armenian inhabitants of Calcutta, 
to devote their personal services to the defence of the seat of the Supreme 
Government, in any exigency which may arise.” 

J One exception, however, may be made; for it has often been related that 
on wet mornings, when the volunteers turned out for parade on foot, every 
gentleman had a servant in attendance, with a brick to place beneath his 
master’s feet, and they who know the state of the Calcutta maidaun , or great 
plain, in the middle of the rains, will not much wonder at the precaution. 



It is enough for the purposes of this Memoir to 
state that Mr. Tucker was an active member of the 
amateur Cavalry force ; and as he was an excellent 
horseman, and full of spirit, he doubtless would have 
distinguished himself as a soldier, if that had been 
the mission which he was decreed to fulfil. As it 
was, he rose rapidly from the rank of a private to 
that of a captain in the regiment ; and he often 
playfully adverted, in his declining years, to the 
days when grave civilians forgot for a time the 
affairs of the Dewannee and the Nizamut, sitting in 
committee on patterns of volunteer uniform, or 
dining together at Macdonald’s tavern to take leave 
of some distinguished comrade, and, perhaps, to pre- 
sent him with a sword.* 

Whilst all these preparations were going on for 
the defence of the Presidency against threatened in- 
vasion, the Governor-General was bethinking him- 
self of the mental qualifications of the civilians 
w r hose physical powers he was turning to account. 
It appeared to him that responsible offices were con- 
ferred on young civilians, little qualified by a know- 
ledge of the languages of the country and the regu- 
lations of Government for the discharge of the im- 
portant duties which devolved upon them. The 
great idea of the establishment of the College of 

* The Volunteer Cavalry of Calcutta — or, as more correctly it should be 
called, the European Militia Cavalry —was organised by Colonel Welsh, who, 
on his return to England, was presented, on full parade, with a handsome gold- 
handled sword. As late as 1805, Mr. Tucker was addressed in some official 
correspondence in the military department as “ Captain Henry StGeorgc 
Tucker, commanding the Calcutta European Militia Cavalry.” 


Fort ’William was then taking shape in his mind. 
With the pressing business of the war in the South 
before him, he could not then bring the design to 
perfection; but, in the mean while, he issued an 
order decreeing that “from and after the 1st of 
January, 1801, no servant will be deemed eligible to 
any of the offices hereinafter mentioned, until he 
shall have passed an examination in the laws and 
regulations and in the languages, a knowledge of 
which is hereby declared to be an indispensable 
qualification for such respective offices.” On the 
subject of the necessary examination in the native 
languages and the formation of a qualified Board of 
Examiners, that eminent Orientalist, Dr. Gilchrist, 
was consulted. The Board was “ to be selected from 
gentlemen who were known to be competent judges 
of Indian languages.” Among the list of those re- 
commended by Dr. Gilchrist — a list which includes 
the honored names of Barlow and Edmonstonc — 
was that of Mr. Tucker, who, in spite of all the dis- 
advantages under which he had labored, had dili- 
gently studied the Oriental languages, from almost 
the first day of his residence in the East. 

The order of which I have spoken was issued on 
the 21st December, 1798. Eour days afterwards, 
Lord Wellesley embarked from the water-gate of 
Port William upon the Government yacht, which 
carried him down the river to join the frigate com- 
missioned to convey him to Madras. The war which 
was now to be prosecuted with unfailing vigor 
against Tippoo Sultan demanded Ins personal super- 



intendenee, arid he hastened, therefore, to the Coast, 
that no time might be lost in references to the seat 
of the Supreme Government. 

In the spring of the following year, the health of 
Mr. Tucker, severely tried as it had been by his un- 
ceasing application to his official duties, gave way 
beneath the continued tension, and he was com- 
pelled to lay aside the pen. He had now been for 
more than twelve years, with slight intermission, 
under the enervating influence of the hot, damp 
climate of the low countries on the banks of the 
Ganges, severely tried by those two worst enemies 
of health in all countries, much intellectual toil and 
mental anxiety. It was time that he should cease 
awhile from his work. So, in the spring of 1799, 
he obtained leave of absence from his appointment, 
and sailed for Madras. 

Much thought had he, too, even then, of turning 
to profitable account this permitted season of leisure 
and recreation. The war in Mysore was at its height ; 
the Governor-General was at the southern Presi- 
dency. To Mr. Tucker it seemed, therefore, that 
whilst the sea-breezes were recruiting his strength, 
he might still, at the elbow of the Governor-General, 
be exercising his official experience in the service of 
the State. He arrived at a propitious moment. The 
Presidency was in a transport of joy. The guns of 
Port St. George were announcing the receipt of glad 
tidings from Mysore. The stronghold of the Sultan 
had fallen, and Tippoo himself was — History. 

Rightly had Mr. Tucker anticipated that his ser- 



vices would be required on the Coast. The Go- 
vernor-General, in such a juncture, had espe cial 
need of active and intelligent secretaries ; and the 
circumstances of the War and the Victory had di- 
minished the personnel of his staff. Colonel Kirk- 
patrick, his Military Secretary, was at Seringapa- 
tam; and Henry Wellesley was now to be de- 
spatched to England to communicate to the British 
Government “ all the detailed circumstances and 
intricate considerations connected with the late My- 
sore war,” and the pacification which had ensued. 
In the new arrangements for the completion of the 
personal staff of the Governor-General which then 
became necessary, Mr. Tucker was included. He 
was appointed to act as Military Secretary, and he 
took up the quarters, in the temporary residence of 
the Governor-General, vacated by his Lordship’s 

The duties which he was called upon to perform 
were various. Lord Wellesley knew the character 
of the man — knew that he could rely on his energy 
and ability — and he did not scruple to tax them to 
the utmost. Often, in after-days, did Mr. Tucker 
speak of all the circumstances of his residence at Ma- 
dras in this momentous summer of 1799. Brought 
constantly into close official and personal intercourse 
with the Governor-General, he had abundant oppor- 
tunity of observing the wonderful quickness of ap- 
prehension and the unequalled intellectual activity 
which distinguished the character of this remarkable 
man. Little more than a year had elapsed since 



the Governor-General had for the first time looked 
out, from the deck of the Virginie, on the white 
surf and the low coast of Madras ; yet even now 
men who had been for long years storing up rich 
local experiences found him a ripe Indian states- 
man, and stood abashed before the superior know- 
ledge of the titled novice. 

Some striking illustrations of the quickness with 
which Lord Wellesley grasped all the salient points 
of a great question, and the boldness with which 
he enunciated the views thus hastily formed, w r ere 
brought, at this tune, under the immediate notice of 
the subject of this Memoir. One example -may be 
cited. At a late hour one night the Governor-Ge- 
neral summoned Mr. Tucker to his presence. Giving 
him a bundle of papers of considerable bulk, he 
requested the Secretary to make a precis of their 
contents, and to bring it to him on the following- 
morning. The performance of such a duty de- 
manded not only the closest application during the 
night, but some previous knowledge of the subject. 
Fortunately, Mr. Tucker was acquainted with the 
general bearings of the case. The question related 
to the future relations of the British Government 
with the principality of Tanjore.* At the appointed 

* It had been discovered that Ameer Singh, the de facto Rajah of Tanjore, 
was not the legal heir to the throne, but that Serfojee, the adopted son of the 
late Prince, had claims to the sovereignty which the British Government were 
bound to recognise. It was proposed, therefore, to pension Ameer Singh, and 
to enter into a treaty with the other Prince, by which he was to become a 
mere puppet in our hands upon receipt of an annual payment of a lakh of 
star-pagodas (about 40,000/.) and a fifth of the net revenues. The treaty 
with Serfojee was dated October 25, 1799. 


hour a compendium of all the facts bearing upon 
the case was placed in the hands of the Governor- 
General. He had little more than an hour in which 
to make himself acquainted with all the circum- 
stances set forth in Mr. Tucker’s abstract; but 
armed with this paper and with the writer of it him- 
self, whom he had requested to sit beside him, at his 
elbow, he entered the Council-Chamber without a 
misgiving. The Governor of Madras and the mem- 
bers of Council were invited to declare their opinions; 
but the majority, more accustomed to elaborate mi- 
nute-writing than to extemporary speaking, sate 
disconcerted and confused, and little able to set 
forth their views when suddenly called to enunciate 
them. Believing that Lord Wellesley was at all 
events no better informed than themselves, their 
astonishment was great when his Lordship addressed 
the Council — speaking fluently and well for more 
than an hour — entering into all the minutest cir- 
cumstances relating to the history and condition of 
Tanjore, and setting forth his views with regard to 
our future relations with the State in a series of 
luminous and convincing arguments. It seemed 
strange, indeed, to the old Indian Councillors that 
the Governor-General, with the experience of a 
single year, should be better acquainted with all the 
intricacies of such a subject than themselves. Per- 
haps in reality he was not. Lord Wellesley was 
always quick to learn and ready to speak, and his 
self-reliance was unbounded. But there are men of 
slower perceptions, wanting the faculty of ready 




utterance, who possess more knowledge than they 
can educe at a moment’s notice, and are useful, too, 
after their kind. Mr. Tucker always narrated this 
incident as a remarkable illustration of the powers 
of Lord Wellesley’s mind — powers which enabled 
him to master all the details of -a difficult question 
in an incredibly short space of time. But his mo- 
desty prevented him from adding, that the Governor- 
General spoke from the secretary’s brief; that the 
real labor of analysis and arrangement had been per- 
formed by Mr. Tucker; and that much of the 
speaker’s fluency and clearness may have been due 
to the luminous expositions of the scribe. 

In his attention to business Lord Wellesley* was 
indefatigable, and he expected others to be the same. 
He took little heed of hours, and was not always 
mindful of the comfort and convenience of the func- 
tionaries bv whom he was surrounded. A little 
arbitrary and capricious perhaps, he taxed the pa- 
tience and powers of endurance of his secretaries in 
a manner only to be justified by the pressing neces- 
sities of critical times. On one occasion, for ex- 
ample, as Mr. Tucker used to relate, the Governor- 
General, at a late hour of night, passing his room, 
saw that he was just retiring to rest. A few minutes 
afterwards a message came from his lordship, request- 
ing Mr. Tucker’s immediate attendance. Thinking 
that only business of very pressing importance, ad- 

* In this and other places I have spoken of his lordship by the name by 
which he is known in history — but he was at this time not Marquis Welles- 
ley, but the Earl of Mornington* 



mitting not even of a few minutes* delay, ought to 
hare summoned him from his bed, the Secretary 
hastened at once into the presence of the Governor- 
General in his dressing-gown and slippers, and asked 
what were his instructions. The silent rebuke 
seemed to he understood. Lord Wellesley placed a 
paper in the secretary’s hands without uttering a 
word, and he never again summoned him to his pre- 
sence at so unreasonable an hour.* 

That the official and personal intercourse between 
the Governor-General and his secretary caused each 
to regard the other, in spite of such incidents as this, 
with extreme respect, is proved not more by what 
Mr. Tucker was wont to say, in after-life of Lord 
Wellesley, than by what Lord Wellesley did towards 
Mr. Tucker. As the time for the Governor-Gene- 
ral’s departure from Madras nearly approached, he 
intimated to Mr. Tucker his desire that he should 
remain at that Presidency, with the office of Register 
of Sudder Dewanny and Nizamut Adawluts, “with a 
view to his employment in the important duty of 
framing a code of Regulations for Madras, upon the 
model of that which had been established by the 
Government of Bengal.” The Cornwallis-and-Bar- 
low Revenue and Judicial Regulations had found 
especial favor in the eyes of Lord Wellesley, and he 

* Another story which Mr. Tucker used to tell with reference to this period 
deserves at least a place in a note. One morning, at breakfast, Lord Welles- 
ley, on breaking his egg, found that its freshness was at least questionable, 
and rebuked his attendant —a Frenchman, half valet, half butler — for the 
offence. “ Milor 1” said the man, gravely, “ dat not your Lordship’s egg — dat’s 
de aide-de-camp’s eggl” 



was eager to see them in fail operation upon the 
Coast. Tucker had for some time been holding office 
under Barlow ; he had known him long, and was 
thoroughly acquainted with his views. A fitter 
agent for the accomplishment of this great object 
could not have been nominated. But the appoint- 
ment was distasteful to Mr. Tucker. He did not 
wish to he detached from the service of his own Pre- 
sidency. He believed, and rightly, that the selection 
of a Bengal officer for such an office as this would 
be a reflection upon the whole civil service of Ma- 
dras, and would necessarily place the incumbent 
himself in a most invidious position. Still, it was 
difficult to refuse an appointment, which the Gover- 
nor-General urged upon him as one demanded by 
the necessities of the State. So Mr. Tucker, mo- 
destly stating that he felt himself not wholly ade- 
quate, without some further preparation, to the per- 
formance of such important duties, solicited permis- 
sion to return to Calcutta, in order that he might 
take counsel with Mr. Barlow, and profit by the 
experience of that eminent administrator. To this 
Lord Wellesley consented, and in the month of Sep- 
tember Mr. Tucker accompanied the vice-regal party 
to Calcutta. 

The new civil arrangements, consequent upon the 
revision of the establishment, which had been ordered 
upon the first arrival of the new Governor-General, 
were now to be brought into operation. The Secre- 
tariat had been re-organised. It was henceforth to 
consist of a Chief Secretary and three departmental 



Secretaries. The old title of Sub-Secretary was abo- 
lished, and Mr. Tucker was appointed “ Secretary to 
Government in the Revenue and Judicial Depart- 
ments.”* Prom this time he seems to have aban- 
doned the idea of returning to Madras ; but Lord 
Wellesley still clung to the belief that it would be 
expedient to depute Mr. Tucker to the Coast for the 
furtherance of what he described as “the great 
object of his anxiety.” It was not until the very 
close of the year that the reports which he received 
from Madras convinced him that he might entrust 
this difficult and important duty to the officers of 
that Presidency. “The very able report of your 
Board of Revenue,” he wrote to Lord Clive, on the 
31st of December, 1799, “and the intelligent and 
satisfactory letters of Mr. Webbe to Mr. Barlow, 
afford abundant proof that your service can supply 
both knowledge and talents sufficient for the execu- 
tion of the great plan in my contemplation, without 
the aid of any person deputed from Bengal. I have 
not sent Mr. Tucker to you, not only because I am 

* The order is dated October 9, 1799, and is contained in the following 
words: — “The Right Hon. the Governor- General in Council having taken 
into consideration the present establishment of the office of the Secretary to 
Government and four sub-secretaries, the establishment shall in future consist 
of a Chief Secretary to the Government and of four secretaries— -viz., one 
secretary for the Secret, Political, and Foreign Departments ; one secretary 
for the Public Department; one for the Judicial and Revenue Departments; 
and one for the Military Department The Right Hon. the Go- 

vernor-General in Council has been pleased to make the following appoint- 
ments:— Mr. G. II, Barlow, Chief Secretary to the Government; Lieut.-Col. 
William Kirkpatrick, Secretary to the Government in the Secret, Political, 
and Foreign Departments; Mr. H. St.George Tucker, Secretary to Govern- 
ment in the Judicial and Revenue Departments; Lieut. L, Hook, Secretary to 
Government in the Military Department.” 



persuaded his presence at Port St. George is un- 
necessary, but because I wish to leave to your ser- 
vice the full and undivided credit of its own re- 

Mr. Tucker had been scarcely eight years in the 
Covenanted Civil Service of the Company when this 
important office was conferred upon him. It was 
an office so much beyond the ordinary scope of pro- 
motion that he was compelled for some time to hold 
it with a diminished salary — the regulations of the 
service not admitting an officer of his standing to 
draw the full allowance attached to it. I do not 
know anything that could more clearly indicate the 
high estimation in which he was held by the Go- 
vernor-General and the members of the Supreme 
Council. f “I have found,” said Lord Wellesley, 
about this time, “ the officers of the Secretariat to 
possess the industry of clerks with the talents of 

But other duties even more important than this 
were about soon to engage the energies and abilities 
of Mr. Tucker. There were great events then loom- 
ing in no very remote distance, and the Governor- 
General saw that he had need, at such a time, of the 

* MS. "Records . 

t The circumstance is thus explained by Lord Wellesley, who wrote:— “I 
propose that Mr. Tucker be appointed Secretary to the Judicial Department, 
for which he is peculiarly well qualified. His standing in the service does 
not admit of his drawing a higher salary than that which he now receives. 
His merits, however, and the fundamental principle of the present arrange- 
ment, require that his salary should be augmented to whatever his standing 
in the service may admit of his drawing, until he is competent to hold the foil 
salary of his office, which I propose to fix at 50,000 rupees per annum,” 


best financial skill that the country could yield. 
Mr. Cox was at this time Accountant-General. In 
the course of the year 1800 he fell sick ; and Mr. 
Tucker, still retaining the office and discharging the 
business of his secretaryship, performed Mr. Cox’s 
duties until he was able again to resume his work. 
But early in the following year an opportunity oc- 
curred for the permanent translation of Mr. Tucker 
to this important office — an opportunity of which 
Lord Wellesley was eager to avail himself. Mr. Cox 
was appointed a member of the Board of Revenue ; 
and then, the Governor-General, who during his re- 
sidence at Madras had remarked the extraordinary 
financial ability of Mr. Tucker, called upon him to 
take charge of the general revenues of the empire. 

To Mr. Tucker the proposed change was not per- 
sonally acceptable. He delighted in the duties of 
the Secretariat; and the emoluments of the new 
office were not equal to those which he was called 
upon to abandon. But he cheerfully obeyed the 
call, and entered at once upon the arduous and re- 
sponsible duties of the Accountant-Generalship with 
characteristic energy and zeal. He had at this time 
just completed his thirtieth year, and had not been 
ten years in the Covenanted Service of the East India 
Company. He had half a century of usefulness yet 
before him ; but he had even now attained one of 
the highest, and at such a time the most important, 
offices that could be conferred upon him by the 




State of the Public Finances— Public Credit— Mr. Tucker’s Measures — Plan 
of a New Bank — Reduction of Interest — New Loans — Improvement of 
Public Credit — Connexion with Palmer’s House — Mr. Tucker’s Double 
Duties— Continued Financial Improvement. 

It was no small responsibility, it was no slight 
labor that Mr. Tucker had undertaken. Financial 
embarrassment was at this time new to the Indian 
Government. Lord Cornwallis, on laying down the 
reins of office, had left an overflowing treasury ; and 
it was not until the closing year of Sir John Shore’s 
administration that the surplus had disappeared. 
But Lord "Wellesley found that terrible word deficit 
ready written for him in the Indian accounts, and 
costly military operations were forced upon him by 
the hostility of Asiatic enemies and the intrigues of 
their European allies. 

In these times the making of wars, with an empty 
treasury, is a matter sufficiently perplexing to the 
Indian financier. But there were two causes which 
at the commencement of the century were ever in 
grievous operation to aggravate his perplexities. In 
the first place, there was a two-fold demand for 
money. Money was required for political purposes, 



and money was required for commercial purposes. 
There were armies to be paid ; and there was the In- 
vestment to be provided. In the second place, there 
was no such thing as Public Credit. When the re- 
venue was exhausted, money was to be borrowed. 
But money was then obtained by Government only at 
ruinous rates of interest. The Company then paid 
as dearly for the money they borrowed from the com- 
munity, as a needy customer who has the misfortune 
to overdraw his account pays to the most usurious 
House of Agency that ever beggared its constituents 
and made them exiles for life. 

Nor was the general want of confidence in Govern- 
ment expressed even by the necessity of paying twelve 
per cent, on the money which they raised by loan. 
In the spring of 1801 this twelve-per-cent, paper — 
Treasury-notes, payable in the ensuing autumn — was 
selling at a discount of three or four per cent. The 
native bankers of Calcutta, Moorshedabad, Benares, 
and other places, had no faith in Government se- 
curities, and either held back their capital or em- 
ployed it in then’ private speculations. Exorbitant 
rates of interest were obtainable from the landholders, 
who looked, under the operations of the Permanent 
Settlement, to the realisation of a still larger inte- 
rest from the improvement of their lands. And the 
general disorderment of the Company’s finances 
abroad opened many sources of gain to the capitalist, 
who was made the medium of exchango between 
different districts, and trafficked largely in the me- 
tallic currency. 



There was a scarcity of silver coin in those days. 
It was much needed by Government for the pay- 
ment of the troops, for advances to weavers, molun- 
ghees, and others, and the native capitalists endea- 
voured to sweep the largest possible supplies of it 
into their own hands. The Revenue-payer was 
for the most part largely indebted to the native 
capitalist, through whom his payments were prin- 
cipally made to Government. The capitalist paid 
the amount into the Public Treasury in gold. But 
for the practical purposes of Government the gold 
coin was of little use. It was necessary, therefore, 
to convert it into silver, and the silver was in the 
hands of the native capitalist. It was only to be 
bought. The consequence was, that the gold coin 
was at a discount, sometimes of as much as six or 
seven per cent., and large sums of money were lost 
to the State by financial operations which it was not 
in their power to control. 

To the remedy of these evils Mr. Tucker now 
brought the experience of a practical man of busi- 
ness and the skill of an adroit financier. He looked 
the mischief steadfastly in the face, and struck boldly 
at a vital point. He knew that to be weak is to be 
miserable. To confess weakness is to be miserable 
in the extreme. Now what was all this borrowing 
at twelve per cent. — this subserviency to the native 
capitalist — but a confession of weakness of the worst 
kind ? To pay exorbitant interest upon temporary 
advances of money, whether the accommodation be 
sought by an individual, or a Government* is equally 


ruinous to the credit of the private or the public 
borrower. The capitalist looks askance at the loan- 
seeker, who is, or appears to be, in such desperate 
straits as to seek assistance on these ruinous terms. 
Whilst the Government were paying twelve per 
cent, for the money they borrowed, their securities 
were at a discount, because their credit was bad. It 
was plain enough to the Accountant-General that if 
the Public Credit could be established on a secure 
basis, all the rest would soon follow. This, indeed, 
was the one great end to be attained, and a reduc- 
tion of the rate of interest on public securities was 
to be both the cause and the effect of this establish- 
ment of Public Credit. 

To provide, however, for the immediate exigencies 
of the State was necessarily his first care. Schemes 
of future extrication must give place to the reality of 
present embarrassment. It is permitted neither to 
men nor to nations all at once to take large views of 
financial reform. The Accountant-General, at the 
seat of the Supreme Government, had not only to 
provide for the wants of the Presidency to which he 
was immediately attached, but to answer the demands 
of Madras and Bombay, which could not meet then* 
own charges. No small portion of Mr. Tucker’s 
time, during the first few months of his tenure of 
office as Pinance Minister, was consumed by the 
arrangements which it was necessary to make for 
the supply of remittances and the regulation of ex- 
change operations between the different Treasuries 
in the Company’s dominions. These operations had 



hitherto been carried on at a ruinous cost to Govern- 
ment, and, as I have already briefly explained, to the 
continual profit of the native capitalists through 
whom they were principally effected. At this time 
certain provinces of the great principality of Oude — 
known in History as the “ Ceded Provinces” — were 
passing into our hands.* In such a conjuncture the 
Lucknow Treasury was found to be a most service- 
able auxiliary ; not merely on account of what the 
new provinces actually promised to yield — perhaps 
in this respect their capabilities may have been over- 
ratedf — but because a skilful financier, by a judicious 
regulation of the exchange between that place and 
Calcutta, might obviate the necessity of that ruinous 
intervention of the native capitalist, which, through 
so many different channels, abstracted so much from 
the Public Treasury into the hands of the bankers 
and shroffs. “ By regulating the exchange between 
Calcutta and Lucknow,” wrote Mr. Tucker to Colonel 
Scott, who was then Resident at the latter place, “ we 
shall not only obtain the remittance of the surplus 
tribute on the most advantageous terms, but we may 
also prevent or check the exportation of silver from 
the Company’s provinces, the melting down of our 

* It was not until November that the treaty under which these provinces 
passed into our hands was signed. The financial operations of the year (1801) 
to which reference is made, related principally to the Oude subsidy and to the 
trade with Lucknow. The collection of the revenues did not devolve upon 
us until the end of the year. 

t A large number, too, of Lucknow rupees— a depreciated currency — were 
sent to the Calcutta Mint for re-coinage; and, owing to the inefficiency of the 
establishment, came out again so slowly that the financial operations of Go- 
vernment were considerably obstructed by the delay. 



rupees, and generally much of the traffic in the 
precious metals, which at present is supposed to 
exist. Heretofore I have had no certain data for my 
guidance, and I have consequently proceeded much 
at random, influenced more by our immediate ne- 
cessities than by any other consideration. These 
necessities, however, will, I hope, be less urgent 
hereafter, and I shall, therefore, be able to take a 
larger view of the subject.” 

Like a skilful physician, indeed, he addressed 
himself in the first instance to the tf palliation of 
urgent symptoms ;” but the remedies which he ap- 
plied were not without their effect upon the seat of 
the disease. It was no small thing in itself to show 
that Government were becoming more and more in- 
dependent of the monied interests, and could manage 
their remittances and exchanges without the inter- 
vention of the bankers and shroffs. This in itself 
did something towards the establishment of Public 
Credit ; and in the month of September, Mr. Barlow 
was able to write to the Governor-General, who had 
taken his departure on a tour to the Upper Pro- 
vinces : “ I made it my first object to inquire into 
the state of the public credit since your Lordship’s 
departure, and I am happy to have it in my power 
to transmit to your Lordship very favorable accounts 
on the subject, which I received from Mr. Tucker.” 
The state of affairs, under judicious management, 
was beginning to improve even more rapidly than 
the Pinance Minister himself had predicted — before, 
indeed, he had time to take the “ larger views ” of 


LETS 01 H. ST.Q-. TUCKEfi. 

which he at this time was referring only in brief an- 
ticipatory outline. 

Among the objects embraced in these larger views 
was the institution of that Public Bank to which 
allusion has been made in the preceding chapter. 
The design, since it was first sketched by Mr. 
Tucker, had been closely considered by him in all its 
details, and he had taken counsel with men of judg- 
ment and experience at the Presidency, and dis- 
cussed it in all its bearings upon the financial inte- 
rests both of the Government and the Public. It 
was his conviction that by bringing the capital of 
such an establishment into competition with that of 
the shroffs and bankers, the value of money would 
soon be brought down to its proper level, and the 
rate of interest both upon public and private loans 
greatly reduced. This, indeed, is something so ob- 
vious, that the only wonder is that the project was 
so long in course of accomplishment. Mr. Tucker 
was eager that the sanction of Government should 
be granted at once ; but the plan of the Bank was 
thrown into the usual crucible of official delay. 
Nothing was done before the Governor-General left 
the Presidency ; and as nothing seemed likely to be 
done, Mr. Tucker thought it expedient to press the 
subject again on his lordship’s attention ; so in Oc- 
tober, he wrote : 


&C. &C. &C. 

“ 17th October, 1801. 

“ My Lord, — I have refrained from intruding on your 
Lordship’s time, as every circumstance connected with my im* 



mediate duty, which it could be necessary for me to report, 
has, I believe, been communicated by Mr. Barlow. I only 
now, indeed, address your Lordship in consequence of hearing 
from Mr. Barlow that previously to deciding on the plan which 
I some time since submitted for the establishment of a Public 
Bank, your Lordship expected to receive from me some further 
explanations upon the subject. 

u The plan has been much canvassed by different individuals, 
and several alterations have been suggested to me. Sir John 
Anstruther, in particular, has had the kindness to give it his 
attention ; and as his observations appear to me to be entitled 
to weight, and as they, in fact, comprise all the objections 
which have been urged against the plan, I shall beg leave to 
submit them for your Lordship’s consideration, with such re- 
marks as may occur to me : 

Whether the Bank shall be a cor- 
porate body ? 

Sir John Anstruther thinks it un- The only object in constituting it a 
necessary, and that there is no power corporate body would be to limit the 
in this country to constitute it such. responsibility of the Proprietors to the 

amount of capital subscribed by them ; 
whereas, if this be not done, the whole 
of their property will be answerable 
for the debts of the Bank . 

The limitation of responsibility 
would certainly be more agreeable to 
the subscribers; but it would pro- 
bably be more satisfactory to the 
public that the responsibility should 
be general. The risk, however, to 
either party appears to me so very 
trifling, that 1 consider it almost a 
matter of indifference whether the 
Bank be rendered a corporate body or 
not. If it should be hereafter found 
necessary, a charter of incorporation 
might, I conclude, be obtained from 
England without difficulty. 

Whether the Governor-General in 
Council shall retain a general legisla- 
tive power of altering the constitu- 
tion of the Bank — that is, the original 
compact between the parties ? 

Sir J. A. thinks that it would be I think that this negative will an- 
sufficient to retain a negative; that swer every necessary purpose, and 
the original contract should not be that the limitation of Government’s 
altered, except by the consent of the interference will be satisfactory to 
parties, ^ to be determined by a vote of the Proprietors. I, myself, should 
the majority of the Proprietors; that prefer that the Government retained 




Government, however, should have 
in every instance the power of reject- 
ing such proposed alterations j that 
whenever Government themselves 
may be desirous of introducing new 
regulations, they should be brought 
forward by 'their Directors for the 
determination of the Proprietors. 

Whether there should not be some 
restriction on the transfer of shares 
without the consent of the Directors? 

Sir J. A. thinks that the transfer 
of shares should not be made without 
previously obtaining the acquiescence 
of the Directors, as such transfers 
affect the security of the Bank as far 
as it rests on individual responsi- 

Whether the moiety proposed to be 
subscribed in 8 per cent, paper should 
not be taken in Treasury Bills or 12 
per cent, notes? 

Whether merchandise and jewels 
should be received as security for 

Whether the Bank should not be 
allowed to receive payment of interest 
— of salary bills— bills of exchange, 
&c., &c., from parties who may have 
open accounts with it ? 

a general power of altering the con- 
stitution of the establishment, because 
I am confident that this power could 
not be lodged elsewhere with equal 
safety. The negative, however, will 
enable them to prevent wrong mea- 
sures, and this will be sufficient for 
the purposes of security. It is scarcely 
to be presumed that the Proprietors 
will refuse to adopt measures which 
may be proposed for their benefit. 

This will be a very proper precau- 
tion if the Bank be not constituted a 
corporate body. 

This I should prefer. I only pro- 
posed 8 per cents, with a view to ac- 
commodation; but the other paper is 
far preferable, as it would be soon 
realised in cash, and consequently en- 
able the Bank to extend its operations 
at an earlier period. 

This was proposed with the same 
view% but I would readily acquiesce 
in the negative, as the receipt of 
goods will be always attended with 
trouble, sometimes with risk, and it 
might involve the Bank in litigation. 

I see no objection to this, and it 
will be a convenience to individuals. 
The agency houses may perhaps think 
it some little encroachment on their 

“ The foregoing are the only points which it appeared to me 
necessary to refer to your Lordship ; and if it should he deter- 
mined to adopt the plan, J can readily modify it according to 
the directions which I may receive. 

“ I am very solicitous to obtain your Lordship’s final orders as 
soon as possible, because if the plan be not determined on im- 
mediately, it cannot be undertaken in the present year. From 
the month of February to the month of August the collections 
on account of the land-revenue are so inconsiderable in Bengal, 
that I should not be able to command a sufficient sum in specie 
during that interval. 


“Of the practicability of the measure, if your Lordship de- 
termined to undertake it, I have now very little doubt — of 
its expediency, I never had any doubt. I am, however, less 
anxious about it at present than I was some months ago, as the 
improved, and improving state of our credit has rendered it less 
necessary. Still, I think it would greatly facilitate every other 
financial arrangement; and although it may not be essentially 
necessary, it would, I am persuaded, be beneficial. 

“ I have the honor to be, with great respect, my Lord, your 
Lordship’s faithful, humble servant, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ Calcutta, 17 th October, 1801.” 

The Bank, however, was not suffered to help 
Lord Wellesley through the financial difficulties 
which then lay before him. Its establishment be- 
longs not at all to this chapter of Indian history. 
The project was flung, like many other beneficent 
projects, into the great Hereafter ; and it is fortu- 
nate that it ever came out again. It was not until 
1806 that the Bank of Bengal became a fact. 

Other measures, however, conducive to the same 
end, were brought into immediate operation. The 
Treasury-bills, which in March were at a discount, 
were now in September at par, and Mr. Tucker pro- 
posed to reduce the rate of interest which they bore 
from 12 to about 10 per cent. It was his project to 
issue bills bearing a daily instead of a yearly inte- 
rest, and with this intention he addressed a circular 
letter to the principal members of the commercial 
community, asking whether they were " aware of 
any objections to the measure.” After detailing the 
amount of daily interest to be borne by the several 
bills issued from the Treasury, he wrote : 




“ My reasons for the proposed change are briefly as fol- 

“ 1st. To effect a gradual reduction of interest. I am, how- 
ever, by no means desirous of forcing things precipitately, or to 
make any attempt without a very fair prospect of success. 

“ 2ndly. To consult the convenience of individuals, as well 
as of our own officers, by establishing a rate of interest which 
may be easily calculated by every person who can add up 
numbers. By so doing, too, the Treasury-bills will be much 
better calculated for a medium of exchange. 

“ 3rdly. To enhance the value of the Treasury-bills at pre- 
sent outstanding, as well as of other Government securities 

“ 4thly. By issuing the Treasury-bills in smaller sums, and 
at a lower rate of interest, I wish to familiarise the public, by 
degrees, to a paper or bank currency. 

“ In justification of the proposed measure, I think it neces- 
sary to observe : 

“ 1st. That I understand the Treasury-bills are at present in 
great demand, and that they are not to be procured always 
even at par. 

u That as long as these bills circulate at par they are obviously 
of great use in this settlement, inasmuch as they increase the 
circulating medium. 

“ That I have every reason to believe their value will increase 
rather than diminish, the amount outstanding being much re- 
duced of late, and the expected issues being inconsiderable. 

ct Indeed, I think it probable that, by the end of February, 
none of the Treasury-bills at present outstanding will remain in 
the market 

“ Should any objections occur to you, I shall be much obliged 
by your communicating them to me, as I do not propose to 
recommend the measure hastily.” 

The measure, received as it was with entire satis- 
faction by the principal members of the mercantile 
community, was supported by Mr. Barlow and sane- 



tioned with approbation by the Governor-General, to 
whom it was submitted.* 

The interest on these bills, which before the close 
of the year were “obtainable with difficulty by 
persons desirous of purchasing them,” was again re- 
duced from 10 and a fraction per cent, to 9 and a 
fraction per cent., and the twelve-per-cent, loan was 
closed in the course of November, f 

But it was obvious, that whilst the revenues of 
India could not be made to pay the expenses of its 
government, the further borrowing of money would, 
under any circumstances, have been a necessity im- 
posed upon us by the exigencies of our position. 
But the necessity was in this case not so calamitous 
as, considering that the great object of our pecuniary 
operations at this time, after providing for present 

* u I have the honor,” wrote Mr. Barlow to Lord Wellesley, “ to enclose 
a copy of a letter written by Mr. Tucker to several of the principal mer- 
cantile houses, under date the 16th inst. (Sept., 1801). The gentlemen to 
whom the letter is addressed, and others who have been consulted on the 
subject, entirely approve of the measure suggested by Mr. Tucker ; and he is 
very desirous that your Lordship’s sanction should be received for carrying it 
into effect immediately. It appears to me to be in every respect advisable.” 
Upon this Lord Wellesley wrote: “ I entirely approve the measure, and I re- 
quest you to carry it into effect immediately. As it is an important measure 
of finance, you should state on record that it is adopted with my concurrence.” 
— \_MS. Becords.'] 

t See letter of Lord Wellesley to Secret Committee, October 16, 1801 : — 
“ Public credit gradually improved, and at the end of September last the 
Treasury-bills not only circulated at par, but were obtained with difficulty 
by persons desirous of purchasing them. This favorable change in the 
state of public credit induced the Accountant-General to suggest the closing 
of the twelve-per-cent, loan on the 2nd of November next; and also to recom- 
mend the reduction of the interests on the Treasury-bills from 12 per cent, to 
9 rupees 2 annas per cent, per annum. The propositions of the Accountant- 
General having been previously referred to the Governor-General, the Vice- 
President in Council, with his Excellency’s sanction, adopted the recommen- 
dation of the Accountant-General.” 

i 2 



emergencies, was to establish the confidence of the 
community in the financial stability of the Govern- 
ment, it might reasonably appear to be. An im- 
pression was gaining ground that the prosperity of 
the Company was such that the public debt was 
about to be gradually discharged. At such a time, 
therefore, the opening of a new loan might have 
seemed to be peculiarly inappropriate ; but the Ac- 
countant-General looked at the matter in another 
light, and thus explained the circumstances of the 
case in a letter to Mr. Barlow, who was then Presi- 
dent in Council : 


“ 13th of February, 1802. 

44 Dear Mr. Barlow, — I have the pleasure of sending you 
the draft of the advertisement. 

“I should have mentioned one possible ill effect of the loan. 

44 The rapid fall of the discount is perhaps in a great degree 
to be ascribed to an opinion which I believe now prevails, that 
means will be found for the gradual discharge of the public 
debt. Now the opening of a new loan may appear such an in- 
consistency as to destroy this illusion (if it be an illusion) al- 
together; for the public will very naturally ask, 4 Why should 
the Government negotiate new loans, if they really have any 
prospect of being able to pay off the old ones?’ 

44 On the other hand, it may be expected to occur to them 
(for it is pretty nearly the real state of the case), that we are 
borrowing at a lower rate of interest to pay off heavier incum- 
brances; and as far as this idea obtains, it ought to have a good 
effect, for this is one way of obtaining the means of paying off 
our debt. 

44 At all events, the illusion (if it be such) must be destroyed 
sooner or later, unless we can suppose that the Court of Directors 
will send out to Bengal in the ensuing year 1802-3 about 



80,00,000 rupees, and in 1803-4 about 1,50,00,000; and I 
confess 1 am not quite sanguine enough to entertain such an 
expectation. These sums are the estimated deficiency of the 
two years, including debt to be paid off; and if the amount be 
not supplied from England, it must be raised here by means of 
new loans. 

“ Allowing for the receipt of a moderate supply of bullion 
from England in 1802-3 (say thirty or forty lakhs, which I 
think they are likely to send), it certainly might be practicable 
to get through that year without a new loan by extending the 
issue of Treasury-bills ; but I confess I do not feel much disposi- 
tion myself to make this experiment, and we should, perhaps, 
lose the opportunity of transferring the twelve-per-cent, loan, 
which must be very embarrassing to us in 1803-4 if it be not 
previously disposed of. 

“ To avoid any appearance of empressement , it occurs to me 
on reflection that it will be better to postpone the publication 
of the advertisement till Thursday next. This delay cannot 
make much difference, and it will allow you time to give the 
measure any further consideration which may be necessary. 

“ I am, &c., &c., 

(Signed) “ H. St.G. Tucker/' 

Five days afterwards the advertisement for the 
new eight-per-cent, loan was published in the 
Gazette. It produced about seventy-five lakhs of 
rupees. “ The loan has succeeded indifferently 
well,” wrote Mr. Tucker to Mr. Lumsden, the Chief 
Secretary, in the following July, “ although not so 
well as I had expected, and certainly not so well as it 
would have succeeded, if various contingent circum- 
stances had not reduced our Treasury to a very low 
state.* The subscriptions of which we have an account 

* In another letter to Mr. Lumsden these circumstances are glanced at, 



amount to seventy lakhs, and when the remaining 
accounts come in, the total subscription will, I think, 
be about seventy-five lakhs. Our credit continues 
good, notwithstanding the poverty of our Treasury.” 

I must refrain from entering into these financial 
details with a minuteness which might weary the 
reader. It is enough that it should be shown how 
in these years, 1801 and 1802, the efforts of Mr. 
Tucker, sanctioned and supported as they were by 
Mr. Barlow and Lord Wellesley, were attended with 
results which needed only the continuance of peace 
to render them permanently beneficial to the coun- 
tiy. Public credit was then first established ; the 
rate of interest on public securities was then first 
reduced. The exchanges were so regulated as to 
save to the State the ruinous brokerage of the 
native shroffs and bankers, and the premium on 
silver extorted by these capitalists was no longer 
paid, for our own treasuries were well supplied. In- 
deed, before the middle of 1802, the Accountant- 
General was able to furnish it to the Calcutta mcr- 

and the difficulties with which Mr. Tucker had to contend briefly described. 
u The loan has succeeded, but not to the full extent which I had expected, 
owing to circumstances which I have already explained to you. The Amboyna 
and the Madras bills were the principal cause of my embarrassment, and the 
low state of the Treasury I have every reason to believe prevented the natives 
from subscribing. In consequence of my being obliged to issue so many 
Treasury-bills, the whole of the Salt Revenue has been paid in these bills. In 
the present month I have not, I believe, received 10,000 rupees in cash out of 
100 lakhs. I have also been most unexpectedly disappointed in some revenue 
remittances, which will prevent me from making any immediate advances for 
the investment at the factories in the neighbourhood of the Presidency, and 
which may even prevent me from paying the military at the appointed time. 
I have, however, taken every possible precaution to escape such a con- 



chants. * And funds were provided for an Investment 
to the extent of eighty or ninety lakhs of rupees.f 

By Lord Wellesley this vast improvement in the 
financial condition of the country was regarded with 
the liveliest satisfaction. “ I sincerely congratulate 
you,” he wrote, on the 7th of June, to the Chairman 
of the Court of Directors, “ on the improved state of 

your finances It will be a satisfaction 

to you to receive from me, in addition to the pledge 
of my public character, this private assurance that 
the finances of the Company in India are now in a 
most flourishing state — that they will further im- 
prove not only with rapidity, but on such a durable 
basis as to ensure tbe success of a comprehensive 
plan for the reduction of the debt — and that the 
more minute and detailed any investigation of the 

* See letter of Mr. Tucker (June 6, 1802) to Messrs. Eairlie and Co., 
Colvin and Co., Cockerell and Co., &c., &c. “ As I understand that within a 
few days a high batta has been exacted on gold mohurs, I propose that you 
send any gold which you may have to-morrow to the general Treasury, where 
it will be exchanged for silver to the extent at least of 25,000 rupees from 
each house.” 

f On the 8th of July Mr. Tucker wrote to the Chief Secretary, Mr. Lums- 
den: “We had actually advanced on the 30th of June about forty lakhs for 
the investment, and I hope we shall be able to advance forty lakhs more in 
time for the ships of the present season. Next year his Lordship may, I 
think, with safety promise a full investment both from Bengal and Madras,” 
And two days afterwards he again wrote, in reply to a letter from Mr. Lums- 
den : “ I never gave any absolute assurance that it would be practicable to 
provide an investment of ninety lakhs, nor do I now say that it is absolutely 
impracticable. I am afraid, however, that it will not be possible to provide 
the funds in proper time. The provision of an investment on this scale de- 
pended upon several contingencies— the early arrival of money from England 
— the practicability of drawing funds from Lucknow, and the success of the 
loan,” Mr. Tucker was of opinion that in calling for so large an investment 
the resources of the Treasury were injudiciously strained. “ If,” he wrote, 
“we begin to run before we are able to walk, it will not be difficult to antici- 
pate the consequences.” 



probable revenues and charges of the Company shall 
be, the more manifestly will be demonstrated the 
stability of your credit and the extent and solidity of 
your resources.” On the 5th of August, he wrote to 
Lord Dartmouth, who then presided at the India 
Board : “ Your Lordship will rejoice with me in the 
prosperous state of the finances of India exhibited 
by the accompanying statements ; 1803-4 will cer- 
tainly prove a year of unexampled prosperity. Every 
branch of the Revenue promises improvement. The 
civil charges will not be augmented, and the military 
charges may possibly be diminished.” And, again, 
a week afterwards he addressed, in the same exulting 
strain, the Chairman of the Company : “ Lord Dart- 
mouth, at my desire, will give you copies of state- 
ments of accounts, which will prove to you that the 
finances in India are already restored. This was the 
great object of my pursuit ; and I trust it will prove 
an honorable termination of my government.” 

An honorable termination of Lord Wellesley’s 
government it was not. The seed of great events, 
which were to turn all this prosperity and order 
into ruin and confusion, had already been sown 
broad-cast along the North-Western frontier of 
India. The good work which Mr. Tucker had done 
was soon to be undone ; for the reign of Peace was 
at an end. But it seemed to him that already had 
his mission been so far fulfilled that he might, with- 
out injury to the State, resign his office, and hand 
over the charge of the Public Finances to his suc- 



For with the new year had come other plans and 
projects, and Mr. Tucker bethought himself of 
t aking an important step affecting his whole after- 
career. “ If you knew how much I am harassed at 
present,” he wrote to his sister on the 2nd of Fe- 
bruary, “by a variety of business, you would not ex- 
pect to have a letter to acknowledge from me — I 
must, however, say a word or two, as so very ma- 
terial a change has of late taken place in my situa- 
tion and future plans of life. I am sure you expect 
now to hear that I am going to be married ; but this 
is not at all the case. I am much further removed 
from any such contingency than I ever was, per- 
haps, at any time of my life. I am, however, about 
to resign my office, and to accept the situation 
of senior member of a house of business here — 
Cockerell, Trail, Palmer, and Co. The change is not 
altogether agreeable to me, but I determined upon it 
principally with a view to enable my friend, Mr. 
Palmer, to return to England — a measure which the 
state of his health rendered absolutely necessary, and 
which he could not accomplish by any other means. 
I gain nothing in point of income ; and the only ad- 
vantage which the arrangement holds out to me is, 
the prospect of being admitted a partner into the 
House at home (Paxtons, Cockerell, and Co.). In this 
case, I shall probably be enabled to retire to Eng- 
land three or four years hence — never more to return 
to this detested country. In the mean time, I must 
be content to give up the idea of paying you a visit 
next year, and this to me is the most unpleasant 


Lina OF H. ST.G-. TUCKER. 

consequence of the arrangement. 1 had so long fiat* 
tered myself with the idea of a thousand gratifications 
from this visit, that I cannot abandon it without a 
very painful sensation — I must, however, submit to 

In this passage there is a comprehensive narration 
of all the circumstances under which Mr. Tucker 
was induced to declare his intention of retiring from 
official life and again trying his fortune as a private 
merchant. But these circumstances are more fully 
set forth in the correspondence which a short time 
before had taken place between the Accountant- 
General and the leading members of Palmer’s House. 
In the following Memorandum, drawn up at the 
commencement of the year, we see the 

“ Conditions on which Mr. Tucker would engage to become a Member 
of the Mouse of Messrs. Cockerell , Trail , Palmer , and Co. 

Ci I would engage to become a member of the House on the 
1st January next, on either of the following plans: 

t€ 1st. If Palmer should choose to go home, I would engage to 
remain in his place for three years, from the 1st January, 1804, 
provided I were admitted at the same time a member of the 
House at home. I would not on any consideration remain in 
the country beyond the term of three years; and on retiring to 
the House at home, I should be very well disposed to become 
an active partner. My only personal motive for forming the 
connexion here would be, this option of retiring at an early 
period; for if I were disposed to continue in the Company's 
service for six or seven years, I must, in the common course of 
events, acquire an independent fortune on easier terms. 

u 2ndly. If Palmer should not wish to retire next year, I 
would go home in January next, and would engage to return in 

arrangements with palmer AND CO. 128 

two years and a half (or even eighteen months if he wished it), 
and would continue in the House for five years from the period 
of my return, or of his retirement. I should expect, however, 
as in the former case, to become a member of the House at 
home on his retirement. 

“ If I should go home, I should expect no emolument from 
the House during my absence ; or at least, a very trifling share 
would satisfy me. 

“ I can form no idea of the probable income of a senior member 
of the House' but I conclude it cannot be much inferior to the 
income which I should be likely to receive in the Service, and 
if it were nearly equal to it, I should be perfectly well satisfied. 
At all events, there would be no difficulty with me on this 
head, for my great object is the situation at home. It is almost 
impossible that I should obtain from the House here, what I 
may reasonably expect in a few years from the Service. 

“ In either case, it would not be necessary to change the firm 
of the House, nor should I wish it.” 

Mr. Palmer was at this time at the mouth of the 
river seeking such benefit to his health as was to he 
found in the temporary refreshment of the sea-air. 
Eager was he to know the result of the negotiations, 
which he hoped would enable him to re-establish his 
health and recruit his exhausted energies by a return 
to his native country. His letters to Mr. Tucker are 
written under great depression of spirit. They ex- 
hibit the magnitude of the service which the Ac- 
countant-General was about to render to his Mend : 


“Kedgeree, 15th January, 1803. 

“ My dear Tucker, — ... I thank you for the trouble 
you have bestowed on my concerns. I shall patiently await 
this day’s post to learn the result of your conversation with 
Logan, and which I doubt not will be satisfactory to us both, 



or at least to me; for, excepting the state of your health, I do 
not see a single objection which can be reasonably urged to a 
connexion with you, and to my retreat. The acquisition will 
be wholly in favor of the House. . . . Had the idea of 

retiring not been urged to me, probably I should not have 
dreamt of it, until sinking under a condition of health and 
spirits no longer susceptible of any relief from a change; but 
in the now state and frame of my mind, I look to it as a man 
does to Death for Salvation, not desirable or even tolerable in 
itself, but relatively. I shall never be without care until I am 
in the bosom of all my children, and the longer this blessing is 
postponed, the greater will be my infirmities, and the more 
precarious my chance of recovering from them. I feel a sort 
of secret horror in every reflection connected with Calcutta; 
and could I now proceed direct to England, I surely never 
would revisit it. Still, my dear H., do not imagine that if I 
am compelled to pass a longer period in Bengal, that I shall 
not use every rational effort to rouse myself from the species of 
stupefaction into which I have recently fallen ; and although it 
may occasionally return upon me, yet I feel that it can only be 
temporarily and gradually with less force. I have recovered 
my appetite, and sleep as well as usual, and I cannot be happier 
than in the tranquillity of my family society. . . . 

“ Yours affectionately, 

“ J. Palmer.” 


“ Kedgeree, 16th January, 1803. 

“ My DEAR T., — As I purpose moving to Saugor with to- 
morrow’s dawn, I leave a line in acknowledgment of your 
letter of yesterday. My inference relative to Logan is con- 
firmed, and I am relieved from considerable uneasiness, or at 
least suspense, by the arrangement which has been formed. 
Go I will; but if I cannot bear the thought of parting with 
my father and family without a pang of the acutest kind, still 
I hope it may not expose me to a return of any other affliction. 
I alone know the positive necessity for my departure, and this 
must support me through the trial I have to make of a 


premature and painful separation from the dearest interests 
my heart ever knew. Say all that occurs to you for me to 
Logan, Binny, and Caulfield. I cannot address either of them 
immediately. It is superfluous to say much to you. I know 
your heart sufficiently to be satisfied of the generosity of your 
proceedings; and in leaving everything to you, I was in fact 
taking a more effectual care of my own interests (which, how- 
ever, have never occupied my thoughts) than I could myself. 

“ I am not so well to-day. I had, indeed, a very indifferent 
night’s rest — or rather none at all, and my spirits have possibly 
been exhausted by my letters to England. . . . 

“ Yours affectionately, 

“ J. Palmer.” 

What were the negotiations with his partners to 
which reference is made in these passages, and what 
was the result, may be gathered from the following 
correspondence. It appears to me to he very honor- 
able to all parties concerned. It indicates the libe- 
rality with which, on both sides, the partnership was 
entered into — the desire of the old members of the 
House to render the terms of the association advan- 
tageous to Mr. Tucker, and his reluctance to avail 
himself of the full advantages of the terms offered by 
his friends. His first wish was to render a service 
to Mr. Palmer, with whom he had been connected in 
business some years before, and in closest friendship 
ever since. Beyond this he looked only to the pros- 
pect of a speedier return to England, and to the re- 
newal of his intercourse with the members of his 
family. His affection for them had been continually 
testified by acts of substantial kindness, and his 
heart had never ceased to yearn for the pleasure of 
listening to their dear voices again. He sought for 



no immediate gain — for no accession of income. The 
rules of the Service were not in those days as strin- 
gent as they have since been rendered by wise provi- 
sions of the Government. In the opinion, perhaps, 
of those who are acquainted only with the present 
order of things, nothing stranger will be found in this 
biography than the record of the fact, that Mr. 
Tucker was at the same time Accountant-General and 
a l oading member of a House of Business. In this 
two-fold capacity he remained for about a year. I 
shall enter, presently, with more fulness of detail 
into the circumstances of this combination. It is 
expedient, however, to prefaoe such remarks with 
the correspondence to which allusion has been 
made : 


“ 14th January, 1803. 

“ Dear Tucker, — I had every desire to write you yesterday 
according to my promise, but could not accomplish it. 

“ You may be aware, that in concerns of such magnitude there 
must be many points requiring further discussion; but I readily 
agree in opinion with Palmer that you are eminently qualified, 
beyond any person within my knowledge, to supply his place; 
and with every consideration I have yet given the subject, 
there is no hesitation on my part in offering an opinion that an 
arrangement may be effected, by reductions from the shares of 
some of the partners, by which you might be assured the sum 
mentioned by you as requisite to induce the change, inde- 
pendent of any other motives that may operate with you. In- 
deed, I should hope a considerable addition may be made to it, 
as far as I can judge of the advantages expected to result from 
the late junction of our establishments, and which are more 
likely to increase than diminish. You have many objects for 
your own consideration, and will naturally do so. With re- 


gard to any future introduction to the business of the London 
House, I could only offer an opinion. 

“ I regret much that the period fixed by us for our intended 
return to England should be the same; but many alterations 
may take place during that time. For my part, I apprehend 
that a residence here already of twenty years, and continued 
application to business, with a constancy seldom equalled during 
that time, will render my return, about the end of three years 
more, so desirable as not to be avoided, but under the most 
pressing and serious considerations. 

“ Binny and Caulfield have perused, and approve of this. 

“ Yours sincerely, 

“ Wm. Logan.” 


“ Dear Logan, — Your note is very flattering to me, and as 
far as my interests and situation are adverted to, it holds out a 
prospect of more than I am disposed either to stipulate for or 
to receive. I have stated to you and Palmer distinctly that I 
shall be content to receive an income equal to the income of 
my present office — that I will remain here for three or four 
years (barring accidents), or until Palmer can return, or until 
you can form some better arrangement in concert with the 
partners at home. The quantum of income is not my great 
object. My immediate object is to enable Palmer to leave 
the country; and my more remote view is to obtain an intro- 
duction into the House at home. I do not, however, pretend 
to require any engagement on the part of the House here on 
this subject, because it is evident that they cannot make such 
an engagement. I leave it to future contingencies, reserving 
only the claim which my situation in the House may be sup- 
posed to give me upon any subsequent arrangement. 

“ With respect to Palmer, he, I am persuaded, will be satisfied 
with anything which you can propose; or if he object at all, it 
would be to an arrangement in which every sacrifice might not 
be made by himself exclusively. This disposition on his part 
will, however, be resisted, I hope. 



“ Under other circumstances, if I engaged at all in a concern 
of such magnitude (which I should be little disposed to do), I 
should undoubtedly deem it necessary to give the subject a 
very serious consideration, and to make much previous inquiry ; 
but in the present instance I rely on the characters of those 
with whom I offer to connect myself; and I feel so august a 
necessity for immediate decision, that a more deliberate pro* 
ceeding is in some measure precluded. With respect to what 
I relinquish, and other personal considerations, I have already 
made up my mind on grounds which, with me, are conclusive. 

“ In regard to the period of our retiring to England, I should 
hope that we shall be mutually disposed to consult, as far as 
possible, the interests and inclinations of each other, as well as 
the general interests of those connected with us. 

“ Although you have not pointed out any specific basis of an 
arrangement, I should consider everything so far settled as to 
communicate my intentions immediately to Lord Wellesley, if 
I were satisfied that an arrangement was practicable, desirable, 
and personally agreeable to you. If you can give me such an 
assurance, do so. If we cannot meet on terms perfectly satis- 
factory to all parties, it certainly cannot be the interest of any 
that we should meet at all. I myself would not form such a 
connexion if I thought we should not meet on the most cordial 
terms ; and I am sure Palmer would not, under any circum- 
stances, propose or consent to an arrangement which he 
thought could be objectionable to any individual concerned. 

“ Yours sincerely, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ William Logan, Esq.” 


“ January 15, 1803. 

“Dear Caulfield, — In order to remove all doubts from 
Logan’s mind, you may, if you think proper, declare to him 
on my part, that it was never my intention or wish to inter- 
fere with the arrangement subsisting between Palmer and 
himself. Until some more permanent arrangement can be 


adopted, I shall consider Palmer in the situation of the head 
resident partner; and as such, he is of course at liberty to 
assign the emoluments of his situation to any person he pleases. 
It is a matter of private accommodation in which I have no 
concern ; and I repeat, that I have no wish whatever to disturb 
the present order of things, as explained to me by Palmer. 

“If, after this explanation from me, Logan should find any 
difficulty in making an explicit declaration of his sentiments, I 
shall consider everything at an end between us, and shall im- 
mediately write to Palmer, recommending him to adopt one 
or other of the following alternatives. 

“ To go home this season, leaving Logan at the head of the 
House, and me, in concert with some other friends, to attend 
to his private interests and concerns ; or, — 

“ To allow us to take a passage for him to Bombay, or other 
distant port, adopting such measures as may appear to him 
expedient (by communicating with the partners at home, or 
otherwise), preparatory to his guing home in the ensuing 

“ I should have given Logan a more particular explanation in 
my note of yesterday, had I conceived it possible that he could 
suspect an intention on my part to interfere with his emolu- 
ments, when I expressly declared that I was content to receive 
the same limited income which I now enjoy in the Company’s 

“ Yours sincerely, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ To J. Caulfield, Esq.” 


“ 15th January, 1803. 

“ My dear Tucker, — Binny was gone from the office before 
I received your note of yesterday, but it has since been shown 
to him and Caulfield, and we agree in thinking the proposed 
arrangement is not only practicable, but very desirable; and, as 
for myself, it is most certainly perfectly agreeable. 

“ I pointed out no basis for the arrangement, but, as you wish 
it, would propose that, on your admission taking place, an allow- 




ance, say of 4000 Sicca rupees per month, be made you to the 
30th April next, when the accounts and other material objects 
may be settled; and that afterwards, for the period you mention, 
under the reservations, and which I wish could also be extended 
to me, you either draw from the business a certain income, 
fully equal or rather more than you at present hold, or by 
partaking of a certain proportion of the profits of the House 
(say 5-24ths), at your option; the latter proposition would, 
I trust, be most beneficial to you, and certainly more consistent 
with my wishes. 

44 Yours sincerely, 

44 Wm. Logan. 

“ To Henry St.G. Tucker, Esq.” 


“ 15th January, 1803. 

“Dear Logan, — Your proposal is extremely liberal, and I 
have only to suggest a slight modification of the terms. 

“ I shall probably not be called upon to resign my present 
situation before the 30th April; and, while I hold it, I neither 
could nor would receive any income whatever from the House. 
If I should find it necessary to resign it at an earlier period, 
I shall be quite content with the income I now enjoy (3448 
rupees per month, including house-rent and servants). 

“ After the 30th April, or my resignation, I shall be perfectly 
well satisfied with 4-24 ths, or the income you propose (4000 
rupees per month), for the term of my residence in the country, 
which I would not engage should exceed three, or at the 
utmost four years, from the present time. I should myself 
prefer the fixed income; but I consider the alternative a matter 
of little moment, and I willingly leave it to be determined by 
the House. 

44 1 am content that the claims of either or both of us to an 
introduction into the House in London, should be determined 
(where alone they can be determined) by the parties interested 
at home; and I never had any intention or wish to disturb the 
arrangement subsisting between Palmer and yourself. On 
this subject I have made an explicit declaration to Caulfield. 

44 Should I find it impracticable to obtain hereafter an esta- 



blishment in the House in London, I should wish, on returning 
to England, to retain an interest in the House here for a given 
term (say, 2-24ths or 3-24ths for three years), because I cannot 
possibly acquire in so short a period as three or four years such 
an independence as would enable me to retire altogether. 

“ If these terms be satisfactory to Binny, Caulfield, and your- 
self, let us consider the business settled, as far as my interests 
are concerned, without further discussion. If it be judged 
preferable that I should receive a proportion of the profits rather 
than a fixed income (to which, by-the-by, there may be objec- 
tions), I will not accept a larger share than 4-24ths, and it will 
be much more agreeable to me if you proceed at once upon 
the ground of this determination on my part, for I have com- 
municated it to Palmer, and I will not, on any account, recede 
from it. 

“Yours sincerely, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 


“ 15th January, 1803. 

11 Dear Tucker, — I am glad Logan’s note was satisfactory 
to you, and have no doubt of an immediate arrangement being 
the consequence equally so to all of us. With respect to the 
provisions in the deed, your younger partners receiving an 
increase on Palmer’s departure, I can only observe that was not 
to take place for three years; therefore, until the expiration of 
such period, any intermediate arrangement cannot affect them. 
Logan’s arrangement or proposition will be, as I suppose, 
thus — 

H. Trail . . 3-24 
J. Palmer . 3-24 
H. Tucker . 5-24 
Wm. Logan 5-24 
A. Binny ^ 

J. Caulfield > 8-24 
G. Simpson ) 

and this has my sincere approbation, as being equitable and just. 

“ Yours ever truly, 

“ J. Caulfield.” 

k 2 




“ 15th January, 1803. 

“Dear Tucker, — I have received your note of this date 
with the modification proposed by you, which I readily 
acquiesce in ; but Binny, Caulfield, and myself, still wish that 
your interest might be 5-24ths of the general advantages of the 
business, as more proportionate to the situation you will hold 
in the establishment; and with the option of retaining a part 
of it, as stated by you, in the event of your returning to Great 
Britain, with or without having a participation in the London 

“ Yours sincerely, 

“ Wm. Logan.” 

There were many circumstances which rendered 
the step which Mr. Tucker was now about to take 
extremely painful to him ; and the most distressing 
of all was the manifest displeasure of Lord Welles- 
ley. The Governor-General received his proposal to 
retire from official life with strong expressions of 
disapprobation. “Why, Mr. Tucker,” he said, “if 
you throw up your appointment and enter into a 
commercial connexion, it rests with me to determine 
whether or not you shall be permitted to remain in 
the Service.” To this Mr. Tucker replied, that he 
was most unwilling in any way to embarrass the 
Government, and that if his sudden resignation of 
the Accountant- Generalship would occasion any 
public inconvenience, he would cheerfully consent 
to remain in charge of the Finances until satisfactory 
arrangements could be made for their transfer to 
other hands — but that he could not recede from the 
promise which he had made to Mr. Palmer, whose 
health, perhaps his very life, was at stake. 



The offer was accepted. The compromise was made. 
It was not easy, in that conjuncture, to find a 
Finance Minister to fill Mr. Tucker’s place. It was 
arranged, therefore, that he should continue, for a 
while, to officiate as Accountant-General, whilst 
acting, at the same time, as senior member of the 
mercantile house. During fifteen months he con- 
tinued, with unwearying perseverance, and with a 
close attention to business, which afforded him little 
or no time for recreation or exercise, to perform the 
duties both of his public and private situation, and 
there was no complaint that the interests of either 
suffered by the junction. But although Mr. Tucker 
acted indefatigably in both capacities, he received 
only the emoluments attached to one office. So 
long as he was Accountant-General of Bengal he 
rejected the profits of the commercial partnership. 
He drew only his official salary. 

These circumstances stand recorded in the public 
correspondence of the Supreme Government. In a 
letter to the Court of Directors, dated the 13th of 
January, 1804, they are thus officially detailed : 

“ Dated, 13th January, 1804. 

u The Accountant-General, Mr. Henry St.George Tucker, 
haying lately become a partner in a private house of business 
in Calcutta, addressed a letter to the Governor-General in 
Council, explanatory of the terms and circumstances under 
which he had entered into the partnership, and submitting to 
the consideration of his Excellency in Council how far, under 
the particular circumstances attending his present situation, it 
might be compatible with the rules of the Service for Mr. 
Tucker to retain the station of Accountant-General. 



u With, a view to his continuance in the office of Accountant- 
General while his services in that station might be required, 
and in order to obviate as far as possible every objection origi- 
nating from the circumstance of his having a private interest, 
which might be supposed to be likely to influence his public 
conduct, Mr. Tucker had made it a condition of the engage- 
ment into which he had entered with the House of Messrs. 
Cockerell, Trail, Palmer, and Co., that he should not receive 
any share in the profits of the House so long as he should con- 
tinue to hold the office of Accountant-General. 

“ The knowledge and experience of Mr. Tucker in measures 
of finance, and his strict integrity, had recommended him to 
the choice of the Governor-General in Council for the office of 
Accountant-General, and his services in that situation could 
not immediately be dispensed with, without the most serious 
public inconvenience, and without certain and immediate in- 
jury to the public service, and to the highly important measures 
of finance at that time in progress. Under these considera- 
tions, and adverting to the conditions on which Mr. Tucker had 
become a partner in the house of Cockerell and Co., the Go- 
vernor-General in Council has permitted Mr. Tucker to retain 
the office of Accountant-General, until the 30th of April next, 
at which period of time Mr. Tucker is to make his election, 
either to relinquish his concern in the house of Cockerell and 
Co., or to resign the office of Accountant-General.” 

The year 1803, indeed, was a busy one ; and the 
duties of the Accountant-Generalship, though the 
state of the finances had been greatly improved by 
the good husbandry of the preceding years, were still 
both difficult and onerous. A war had been com- 
menced on our North-Western frontier, the end of 
which it was difficult to foresee. It is not at the 
commencement of a war that its financial evils are 
apparent ; and as there was money at this time in 
the Treasury, and public credit had been established, 



the gigantic embarrassments which at a subsequent 
period almost overwhelmed the Government were 
then only in the germ. Still, as money for the 
movement of our armies was to be found, and an 
investment on an unusually large scale was to be 
provided, there was much need for all the fore" 
thought and sagacity of a skilful Finance Minister. 
To Mr. Tucker, who had been anticipating, with 
the deepest interest, the happy results of a season 
of continued peace, this war-making was a great dis- 
appointment. But he looked the matter cheerfully 
in the face, and believed that we should weather the 
storm. “It is impossible,” he wrote to the Chief 
Secretary, his friend Mr. Lumsden, “to say with 
any kind of certainty what can be done during a 
period of actual war; but if the Government at 
home perform their promises, and our operations 
against the Mahrattas, &c., be not attended with 
any very extraordinary expense, we shall, I hope, 
hold our ground at the least. Had peace continued 
only three years longer, with the assistance proposed 
to be furnished from England, we should, I am 
persuaded, have been able to put the Public Debt 
into a very manageable state, and to have effected a 
complete revolution in the rate of interest, &c., &c.” 
And again, a little later, writing to the same excel- 
lent public servant, he said : “If in the face of a 
war both in India and in Europe, it be practicable 
to provide a full investment — to pay off a large debt 
— and to meet a disbursement, such as that of the 
present month (at least eighty lakhs at the General 



Treasury alone) — if this can be done with so slight 
a diminution of credit, more will hare been done, I 
think, than might hare been expected.” 

In another letter, written in October, Mr. Tucker 
comments forcibly on the difficulties which he had 
to encounter. “ His Lordship,” he wrote to Mr. 
Lumsden, “ I believe, is fully aware of the difficulties 
we have had to surmount, and it will not be a matter 
of surprise that some little inconvenience should be 
experienced in particular quarters, as it is not pos- 
sible to provide equally well on all sides against 
sudden demands. The demand upon our resources 
at this moment is far greater than I have ever 
known it at any former period; and we shall do 
well if we get over it after a little stumbling. My 
attention has been principally directed to the army 
and the General Treasury, for I know that any 
failure in these quarters might be fatal ; but I have 
paid every attention in my power to the other parts 
of service. The state of every treasury in the 
country is constantly before my eyes, and if any 
particular treasury be not supplied, it is because 
the means are actually wanting.” 

In the following letter are briefly sketched Mr. 
Tucker’s arrangements for the financial supply of 
the army in the field, which, as he said, was one of 
the two main objects of his thoughts :* 

* Of the other— the paramount necessity of keeping the General Treasury 
veil supplied — Mr. Tucker has descanted in a paper of Instructions, which he 
drew up for his successor, and in which he says : “ It is particularly neces- 
sary to keep the General Treasury well supplied, for here our credit takes its 
character. This should be done although the public service may suffer in 




“ 16 th August, 1803 . 

“ My dear Sib, — It would be advisable, I think, to col- 
lect as large a sum as possible in the first instance at Head- 
quarters, and after the army moves, the Commander-in-Chief 
should be authorised to draw on the different treasuries, and to 
order the collectors, if necessary, to remit in specie. The 
bankers being all established at Lucknow, the Commander-in- 
Chief will probably find it more easy to negotiate bills on that 
treasury, and the Resident may, indeed, be enabled to make 
an arrangement with the bankers for the supply of the army. 
Colonel Scott is quite a man of business, and I do not know 
any person to whom an arrangement of the kind could be so 
safely entrusted. In the mean time, the collectors of Moradabad 
and Bareilly should be directed to remit their unappropriated 
balance immediately to Lucknow or Khanpore, either by bills 
or in specie, as one or other of these remittances may be the 
more advantageous. We have funds at these stations, and they 
are, I presume, out of the way of the probable movement of 
the army. I had intended to direct the collectors to remit, but 
an order from Government may have more effect. I cannot 
tell what the expenses of the army are likely to be, but I am 
afraid we shall be much at a loss for funds during the ensuing 
three months. 

“ The Commander-in-Chief may be authorised to draw on 
the Presidency, provided he can obtain 102 or 101 Lucknow 
rupees per Company’s Calcutta Sicca rupeesL 

u Yours very sincerely, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 

But whilst all these arrangements were being 
carried out, under Mr. Tucker’s presiding control, 

consequence, in other quarters. It is a vital part, and any accident here is 
fatal. A failure at the provincial treasuries has no consequences. It is not 
regarded, and everything may be set right again without any derangement 
being produced. The supply of the General Treasury, I repeat, is the very 
first object to be attended to.” 



for the supply of the army on the banks of the 
Jumna, on the banks of the Hooghly the Ac- 
countant-General was providing funds for an in- 
vestment on a large scale, and at the same time 
paying off old debts, the interest of which had long 
been a serious incumbrance. To sum up the finan- 
cial history of the year, in the words of a cotem- 
porary memorandum : 

“ A supply to an unprecedented extent was fur- 
nished from Bengal to the Presidencies of Port St. 
George and Bombay. An investment on the highest 
standard was provided. A debt, bearing an interest 
of 12 per cent, per annum, to the amount of 
60,00,000 rupees, was punctually discharged; and 
the funds required for these various services were 
raised at a very reduced and moderate rate of 

“ Of the amount raised within the year, the sum 
of Sicca rupees 1,58,65,500 was borrowed at an 
interest of less than 8 per cent, per annum; and 
a supply, to the extent of Sicca rupees 45,31,700, 
was obtained by the issue of Treasury-bills, bearing 
an interest of less than 7 per cent, per annum, a 
rate of interest almost unknown in India. Nor 
should it be forgotten that this was accomplished 
not only while the existence of war with a for- 
midable European Power rendered it necessary to 
maintain the military establishments throughout 
British India on an enlarged and expensive scale, 
but while the most extensive military operations 
were carrying on in various quarters of Hindostan, 



against the principal chieftains of the Mahratta 
Empire. Although the existence of war, and other 
circumstances, have necessarily caused a large ad- 
dition to he made to the Public Debt in India, and 
particularly at the Presidency of Port William, from 
whence the deficiencies of the subordinate Govern- 
ments are supplied — the charge of the debt at this 
Presidency has scarcely increased in any perceptible 
degree during the last three years — the loans made 
by the Supreme Government during that period 
having been raised, not only for the immediate 
supply of the public service, but also with the 
express view of discharging debts bearing a higher 
rate of interest. Had not an essential change been 
effected in the administration of Pinance, the debt 
of the Honorable Company in India would at this 
moment have far exceeded its present amount, and 
would have borne an annual interest greatly exceed- 
ing the proportion which this charge at present 
bears to the capital of the debt.” 

And that these good results were attributable not 
to accidental causes, but to skilful management, is 
plainly demonstrable. In an official paper written 
in 1803, with immediate reference to the financial 
affairs of Bombay, Mr. Tucker says : 

“ The reduction of the rate of interest here has certainly 
not been accomplished, nor has it been in any manner facilitated 
by stagnation of trade. I do not believe, indeed, that the com- 
merce of Calcutta was ever more extensive or more active than 
it is at present. Vast numbers of Portuguese and American 
ships have imported here this year, and are now about to sail 
with full cargoes; and an unusual quantity of tonnage will also 



be required by individuals for consignments to London. Some 
judgment may be formed of the extent of the trade, from the 
business of the House of which I am a member. We shall ship 
at least 1000 tons of goods for London this season, after having 
effected very large sales here ; and we should have had occasion 
to ship a still larger quantity, if the indigo crops had not been 
so unfavorable in the Western Provinces, and the late accounts 
from England had not discouraged the consignment of all the 
coarser assortments of piece goods, and particularly those of 
Oude, to the London market 

“ With respect to the comparative opulence, the immense 
capital, and flourishing condition of Bengal (all which, I am 
happy to say, may be fully admitted), I must observe, that if 
our present financial prosperity is to be ascribed solely to our 
capital and to our territorial resources, that capital and those 
resources must have been generated in the course of the last 
two or three years; because within that period we have ex- 
perienced as great distress here as is at present experienced 
at Bombay. Less than three years ago, our twelve-per-cent. 
Treasury-bills were at a discount of from three to four per cent. ; 
and the whole of our paper was much more depreciated in 
value than the paper of the Bombay Government is at present. 
At that time, we heard constantly of the poverty and distress 
of the Government; the want of commercial credit, &c. &c.; 
and what was the sign of this distress? The Government were 
issuing immense sums in Treasury-bills, bearing an interest of 
twelve per cent, per annum; and individuals were burdened 
with these bills, which they could not dispose of, but at a very 
great loss. 

“ Now we hear of the riches of the country, the prosperity 
of the Government, and of the credit of individuals; and what 
are the tokens of this favorable state of things? The Govern- 
ment are obliged to issue immense sums in Treasury-bills, 
and every person has his hands full of them. Is it not some- 
what extraordinary that the same thing should in one instance 
be the sign of poverty and distress ; and in the other, the 
symptom and the source of opulence and prosperity? I do 



not believe that there is a larger amount of specie in Calcutta 
at present than there was three years ago; and if the capital 
of the country has increased (which it has, no doubt), the 
public debt has increased also. The Company have a greater- 
surplus revenue in India; but they have not a greater dis- 
posable surplus in Bengal; because there is so large a debt to 
be paid off this year, and we have so large a supply to furnish 
the other Presidencies, in consequence of their finding it im- 
practicable to borrow; that the resources of Bengal are as 
inadequate this year to the demands upon them as they perhaps 
have ever been at any antecedent period. The great change 
of circumstances is — that the public have now confidence in the 
Government ; and that we have obtained a convenient medium of 
exchange ; and the very debt of the Government, which, if un- 
accompanied by credit, would be the source and sign of general 
distress, is now what constitutes the capital — the wealth and 
prosperity of the community.” 

This was the great work which Mr. Tucker ac- 
complished during his first tenure of office as Pi- 
nance Minister. He had created and established 
Public Credit in India, and he had permanently re- 
duced the rate of interest paid by the British-Indian 
Government on the money which it was compelled 
to borrow. At the commencement of the present 
century our twelve-per-cent, paper was at a discount; 
and now, at one-third of that interest, more money 
is obtainable by Government than it has need of, 
even in a season of war. And to the great dis- 
appointment of a public clamorous for such invest- 
ments, a four-per-cent, loan is unexpectedly closed, 
because the Treasury is gorged. 




Retirement from Official Life — Government Testimonial — Mr. Tucker’s Mer- 
cantile Life — Opinions of liis Friends — Conduct of Lord Wellesley — Ad- 
miral Bergeret — His Friendship with Mr. Tucker — Departure of Lord 
Wellesley— Anecdotes of his Staff— Thoughts of Home. 

On the 30th of April, 1804, Mr. Tucker’s official 
and responsible connexion with the public Finances 
ceased for a time; and on the following day the 
Governor-General placed upon record a minute, ac- 
knowledging, in befitting terms, the great services 
which had been rendered to the State by the retiring 
Accountant-General : 

“ Fort William, May the 1st, 1804. 

“ The Governor-General, in accepting Mr. Tucker’s resigna- 
tion of the office of Accountant-General, considers it to be his 
duty to record the high sense which he entertains of the great 
and important public services rendered by Mr. Tucker, in the 
discharge of the functions of Accountant-General, during a crisis 
of considerable difficulty, and under circumstances of peculiar 
anxiety and embarrassment. 

44 The person holding the situation of Accountant-General at 
Fort William, must be considered as the principal officer of finance 
of the British Government in India, on the present extended 
scale of this empire. The labor and attention required in the 
preparation of the intricate and voluminous accounts of the 



Presidency of Bengal, form only one branch of the public duty 
of that officer. It is the province of the Accountant-General 
of Bengal to observe with unremitting attention the state of 
public credit, and of financial management, in every part of the 
British Asiatic possessions, extending even to the state of affairs 
at Canton in China ; to ascertain the % circumstances by which 
the general finances of the Company in Asia may at any time 
be affected; and to suggest for the consideration of the supreme 
authority in India, such measures as shall appear to be calcu- 
lated to improve or to confirm the credit of the public securities 
of Government, and to correct the administration of the finances 
at any of the British settlements in India. 

“ Mr. Tucker was appointed to the office of Accountant- 
General in the month of March, 1801; and it is a tribute of 
justice due to the merit of that valuable public officer, to de- 
clare that the Governor- General has derived the most useful 
and able assistance from Mr. Tucker's advice in the arrangement 
and execution of every important measure of finance adopted 
since that period of time. 

“The success which has attended those measures has been 
uniform and extraordinary. During the two last years, the 
credit of the securities of this Government has been raised 
to a higher standard than at any period of time since the exist- 
ence of a public debt in India; and although a considerable 
addition has necessarily been made to the amount of the public 
debt of the Presidency of Fort William, the annual interest of 
the present debt does not materially exceed the interest payable 
by Government on the public debt as it stood in the year 

“ The Governor- General is satisfied that the highest merit is 
to be attributed to Mr. Tucker, in carrying into effect the mea- 
sures adopted by Government for the improvement of the ad- 
ministration of the finances of the Presidency of Fort William; 
and that the prudence, skill, diligence, and judgment manifested 
by Mr. Tucker in his public capacity as Accountant-General, 
have proved considerably useful in establishing the public 
credit of the Company in India on a solid and permanent 



basis; the great zeal, industry, and integrity manifested by 
Mr. Tucker in the performance of his public duty, in every 
situation, have been uniform and exemplary. The Governor- 
General, therefore, records "with great satisfaction his highest 
approbation of the merit and services of Mr. Tucker; and he 
entertains a confident persuasion that Mr. Tucker’s services will 
be duly appreciated by the Honorable the Court of Directors. 

(Signed) “ Wellesley.” 

But although Mr. Tucker then ceased to he offi- 
cially connected with the Government of India, his 
opinions were often invited, his advice was often 
sought, by public functionaries who knew the value 
of his counsel ; and he was always ready to impart 
the benefit of his experience to his successor, and to 
record his views on great questions of Finance. It 
was not his fault — it was not his successor’s fault — 
that a crisis was fast approaching, when the boasted 
financial prosperity of the empire was to be exploded 
into ruin and confusion. 

In the mean while, Mr. Tucker applied himself 
diligently to the affairs of the great mercantile house 
of which he had become a member; and his asso- 
ciates had good reason to congratulate themselves on 
the alliance they had formed with so industrious a 
man of business and so skilful a financier. From Mr. 
Palmer he received many letters, full of the heartiest 
expressions of gratitude and commendation; and 
the hopes which they held out to him of the speedy 
completion of the arrangement which was to enable 
him, at an early period, to return to England, were 
not the least of the solaces of his life. Early in 
February, 1804, Mr. Palmer, in a letter which he 


forwarded through the Egyptian Consul, sent as- 
surances to his friend that the partners of the house 
at home — Messrs. Paxton, Cockerell, and Trail — 
had signed an agreement to the effect that if, on 
his (Mr. Palmer’s) return to Bengal, circumstances 
should induce Mr. Tucker to proceed to England 
with the view of continuing his connexion with mer- 
cantile business, he should be admitted into the 
English house, in the same position, and with the 
same share of the business as that which would 
have been held by Mr. Palmer. And in the follow- 
ing July, alluding to this arrangement, the latter 
thus discourses in a long and most affectionate 
letter to his friend : 

“ In regard to yourself, I can only say that, if I may venture 
to hope for your approbation of my arrangement with P., C., 
and Co., I shall esteem it the happy means of requiting the 
sacrifices you are making to your friendship — but that, indeed, 
only partially, and in a very circumscribed degree. Your de- 
cided conduct in regard to the Service and our establishment in 
Calcutta, I calculate upon with more certainty than satisfaction, 
in as far as you are concerned; for I cannot disguise to myself 
the conviction of your loss by such a decision. And I can 
only hope that in the career open to you here, your wish to 
retire speedily will be profitably realised. I trust it will be 
your own fault if you are not in England in June, 1806 ; for 
though I am not so vain as to think I can maintain all the re- 
lations of the house with that propriety and firm character you 
do, yet I trust to support its respectability by walking in your 
course, and adhering to your system. I am determined to re- 
turn in April or May next, provided I am not ill; and should 
such an accident prevent my moving, you shall be at liberty to 
provide for your retreat by taking into the house the man of 
your choice, even if you shall deem it necessary to place him 



above the absent partners. The Service would supply several 
competent men desirous of engaging in such a line; but if it 
did not, I think you could be at no loss among another class of 

One or two more passages from the same friendly 
letter may be given in this place : 

“ I have been astonished, in common with everybody here, 
to see you maintain the Company’s credit so highly in a time of 
war; but after a knowledge of the real condition of their 
treasuiy, I ascribe the result to your skill in the black art — 
under the auspices always of the great sorcerer himself. Your 
recompense, however, will be most surely sought in your own 
cogitations on the subject; for a different species of illiberality 
distinguishes and characterises the ruling powers abroad and at 
home. There you will only forego the reputation of the thing. 
Here you will suffer the ordinary reward to slip your fingers; 
or rather, it will elude your grasp malgre your efforts. To keep 
up your spirits, however, by illustration against my opinion, I 
must mention that Fleming’s merits have procured him 50,000 

“ I saw Mr. Law twice whilst lie was in England, and found 
him but little changed in appearance, though more in manner. 
He is more steady. He was too well bred to condemn your 
association with me; but I think he disapproved of it. 

. As I went to town expressly to attend to your cor- 

respondence, you will naturally expect me to say something to 
it. I shall, however, confine myself to a general declaration 
that the clearness and precision with which every subject was 
treated — the arrangement, method, and order into which you 
have brought the various concerns of the house, &c., gave 
great satisfaction, and thoroughly predisposed the house to ad- 
mire the line of conduct you have chalked out for your side of 
the world, in regard to your own interests and those of your 
constituents. I left Trail, therefore, to communicate the con- 
tents of your letters to me; and I was highly gratified to find 
a general sentiment of personal respect towards you, the result 



of their knowledge of your plana and good management; I 
trust you will not have imposed too severe a labor on yourself* 
after you shall have relinquished your office ; and that you will 
get through the remainder of your term of drudgery in it, with- 
out prejudice to your health 

“ I am happy the business increases under your auspices, and 
doubt not of its further augmentation ; and as I am very sure 
you will seek for the best connexions only, our security and 
prosperity will necessarily go together. And as you will have 
got rid of many others of a different complexion, or of a preca- 
rious nature, before I can get back, I shall trust to maintain 
the prudence and discretion of the principles you are establish- 
ing, without pain or trouble to myself or others.” 

That such a step as Mr. Tucker had taken should 
have been diversely regarded by different friends was 
natural — indeed necessary. To view the matter with 
plain mercantile eyes was one thing — to view it with 
official eyes was another. There were men, indeed, 
who looked upon it as a blunder, and others who 
saw it in the light of an offence ; some shaking their 
heads in sorrow, others resenting it almost in anger. 
Among the former, it seems, was Mr. Tucker’s first 
and best friend, Thomas Law. Among the latter 
was Lord Wellesley. Of the worldly wisdom of the 
act doubts may be fairly expressed. In this case, as 
it will presently appear, the experiment was not 
worked out to the result of ultimate success or 
failure ; but seldom anything but failure has closed 
upon such experiments. It would be easy to multi- 
ply instances of men who have abandoned the fairest 
prospects of official advancement for a life of ob- 
scurity, poverty, and toil. They have made a fatal 
mistake, and are to be commiserated ; but they are 

l 2 

148 ' 


not to be condemned. On Mr. Tucker, however, Lord 
Wellesley was inclined to pass something like con- 
demnation. The Accountant-General had delivered 
over the public finances to his successor in a most 
flourishing condition, and had been officially eulo- 
gised by the Governor-General himself. But the 
approbation which descended upon the retiring Fi- 
nance Minister in his public capacity, did not follow 
him into private life. The Governor-General marked 
his sense of Mr. Tucker’s withdrawal from official 
life by ordering his name to be erased from the 
dinner-list of Government House. 

To Mr. Tucker — who was as little of a lackey as 
any man that ever lived — this was probably no very 
severe visitation. The official stamp was gone from 
him, and with it his passport to the table of the 
Governor-General. But to that larger outer circle, 
who are summoned to the more heterogeneous even- 
ing gatherings at Government House, he was still 
admissible — if he would go. But he had not a 
thought of going. If he were not welcome at Court, 
there was nothing easier than to stay away. And he 
did stay away, until a circumstance occurred which 
brought him again as a welcome guest to the table 
of a man, who had really too much that was noble 
in his nature to harbour such petty resentments 
as these. 

It happened that in 1804 there was a French 
prisoner in Fort W illiam named Bergeret. He was 
a distinguished naval officer, with a brave heart that 
never failed him in war, and many very fine quali- 



ties besides, which made him, very loveable in peace. 
England’s best sailors knew the man. They had 
tried the temper of his courage in the Western and 
the Eastern seas, and never found it wanting, though 
Eortune had turned disastrously against him, and 
victory was not within his grasp. In 1796, off the 
Lizzard, he had fought Edward Pellew — Lord Ex- 
mouth. The action is a memorable one in naval 
annals. Pellew commanded the Indefatigable , Ber- 
geret the Virginie. The material advantage was on 
the side of the former, and the French frigate, with 
her mizen-mast and her main-top-mast shot away, 
yielded at last to the superior power of her assail- 
ant.* Respected by all men for his gallantry, but by 
none more than his captor, of whom for a while he 
was an honored guest, Bergeret lived for some time 
amongst us. Sir Sydney Smith was a prisoner at 
Havre, and the British Government sent the French 
officer on his parole to endeavor to exchange himself 

* When Bergeret, deeply moved by liis misfortune, asked to whom he had 
struck, and was told, “ to Sir Edward Pellew,” he exclaimed, “ Oh, that is the 
most fortunate man that ever lived. He takes everything, and now he has taken 
the finest frigate in France.” — See “ Life of Edward Pellew, Lord Exmoutli.” 
The biographer says : “ The Virginie was completely riddled. Some of the In- 
defatigable's shot had even gone through the sail-room and out at the opposite 
side of the ship. She had four feet water in her hold, and more than forty of 
her crew were killed and wounded. Yet she attempted to rake her opponent 
ns she was shooting ahead, and had nearly succeeded in doing so. While the 
Indefatigable was reeving fresh braces, the other (British) frigates came up, 
having been enabled to make a shorter distance by the altered course of the 
combatants during the chase. On their approach, the Virginie fired a lee-gun, 
and hauled down her light; and being hailed by the Concorde , replied, ‘We 
must surrender, there are too many of you. We strike to the frigate ahead.* 
A more brave and skilful resistance is scarcely afforded by the annals of the 
war ; and the officer who thus defends his ship against a very superior force, 
may challenge more honor than would be claimed by the victor.** — Vide 
“ Life of Admiral Viscount Exmouth, ” pp. 127, 128. 



for the English admiral. The exchange was not 
effected ; Bergeret returned to England ; but when 
Smith escaped, the British Government, with a 
liberality that cannot be too highly appreciated, 
set the Frenchman at liberty without a condition or 
a stipulation. He was soon, therefore, afloat again. 
The peace saw him on the deck of a merchant-ship, 
the Psyche , which had formerly been a national 
frigate, and which, on the renewal of hostilities, was 
again fitted out as a ship of war. Then it was that 
fate brought him into the Eastern seas, again to be 
made a prisoner, and again to taste the hospitality 
of his old captors. For some time he cruised about 
the Bay of Bengal with good success ; but one day 
in February, 1805, the San Fiorenzo, which had 
been sent in pursuit of him, came up with the 
Psyche off Yizagapatam and brought her to action. 
The conflict, which lasted for three hours and a 
half, was a gallant one. But the French vessel was 
no match for her opponent, and the San Fiorenzo, 
having almost entirely disabled the enemy, hauled 
off to repair her rigging. When she again presented 
herself to renew the contest, Bergeret, who had lost 
more than half his men, and whose vessel was so 
crippled that it could hardly be worked, struck his 
colors and surrendered. He was carried, a prisoner, 
to Calcutta, and confined in the Fort. 

Then was it that he became acquainted with Mr. 
Tucker. What brought them first together I do 
not know — but I do know why, when they were 
brought together, they became attached to each 



other. It was peculiarly a characteristic of the sub- 
ject of this memoir to commiserate fallen greatness 
and gallantry in distress. He was above all na- 
tional prejudice. He was not one in those days to 
hate a Frenchman, any more than nearly forty years 
afterwards he hated an Afghan. He knew that 
Bergeret was a brave and an unfortunate man — and 
that was enough for him. There was sympathy on 
one side; there was gratitude on the other; and 
there were many points of resemblance between 
them. So it happened that a close intimacy grew 
up between the British merchant and the French 
admiral, and a constant reciprocation of kindness — 
if that can be called reciprocity where all the active 
benevolence is necessarily on one side. All that 
Mr. Tucker could do to lighten the sorrows of this 
brave man’s captivity was done by him at this time. 
His liberality, indeed, was restricted only by the 
Government orders which compelled Bergeret to 
reside in the Fort. But for this his friend would 
have made him, as he yearned to do, a cherished 
inmate of his own house. 

Of Bergeret Lord Wellesley knew nothing. Cir- 
cumstances had not made him acquainted with the 
antecedents of his distinguished prisoner. And Mr. 
Tucker, still believing that he suffered under the 
displeasure of the Governor-General, did not feel 
that he was in a position personally to plead the 
cause of his friend. But one day in the course of 
conversation on the incidents of the French sailor’s 
eventful life, Bergeret produced a letter from Sir 



Edward Pellew, alluding to their former intercourse, 
and speaking of the gallantry of his old opponent — 
the commander of the Virginie. On reading it, Mr. 
Tucker recommended his friend to show it to the 
Town-Major. He believed that through this chan- 
nel its contents would be sure to reach the Go- 
vernor-General, and he was convinced that Lord 
Wellesley would delight in doing honor to a pri- 
soner of such repute. Nor was he mistaken. The 
intelligence soon reached Government House, and 
from it there came an invitation to Bergeret to dine 
with the Governor-General. A party was invited 
to do him honor; and an especial invitation, “to 
meet his friend the Admiral,”* was sent to Mr. 
Tucker, by the hands of the captain of the Body- 
guard. Prom that time the intercourse between 
Lord Wellesley and his old Finance Minister was 
resumed — but the reign of the former was now fast 
drawing to a close. 

It was, indeed, soon after the occurrence of the 
incident I have just narrated, that it fell to Mr. 
Tucker’s lot to communicate to Lord Wellesley the 
first tidings of the appointment of his successor. 
It was no uncommon thing, in those days, in India, 

* Admiral Bergeret is still living. lie was created a Peer of France under 
the Orleans Government, but, after the flight of Louis Philippe, sunk (or 
ascended) again into “ Monsieur FAmiral.” He still cherishes a most grate- 
ful recollection of the old kindness of Mr. Tucker, and nothing delights him 
more than to discourse, in his Parisian home in the Rue de Provence, where 
the fine old veteran spends the winter of his days, of the benefits which he re- 
ceived, nearly half a century ago, when a stranger and a captive in a foreign 
land, from one, the only claim to whose friendly assistance was his gallantry 
and his misfortunes. 


as well as in Europe, for the great mercantile houses 
to anticipate the Government in the receipt of import- 
ant intelligence ; and it happened that in the month 
of May, 1806, two letters were received in Calcutta, 
by the overland route, announcing the re-appoint- 
ment of Lord Cornwallis to the Governor-General- 
ship of India. One of these letters was received by 
Mr. James Alexander, the other by Mr. Tucker. 
Both gentlemen determined to keep their informa- 
tion to themselves ; hut a rumor was soon in cir- 
culation to the effect that overland letters had been 
received in Calcutta, and Lord Wellesley sent for 
Mr. Tucker. After holding him in conversation for 
half an hour, on different topics, especially on 
finance, the Governor-General exclaimed, “ I hear 
you have received letters from England.” Mr. 
Tucker assented, and Lord Wellesley asked, “Do 
they contain any news of importance ?” “ Of that,” 

replied Mr. Tucker, “ which I suppose has been done 
at the suggestion of your Lordship — the appoint- 
ment of Lord Cornwallis as your successor.” The 
Governor-General said nothing ; but his looks con- 
veyed, in a most expressive manner, his full sense 
of the significance of such an appointment. 

Often, in after-days, was Mr. Tucker wont to 
speak of his connexion with the Government of 
Lord Wellesley and the character of that distin- 
guished nobleman, varying his discourse with per- 
sonal anecdotes of his Lordship and his Staff. Some 
of these he noted down for the amusement of his 
family ; but there are doubtless beyond that circle 


some to vrhom a specimen of these early reminis- 
oences will be acceptable amidst the grave matters 
of Finance to which these early chapters are neces- 
sarily devoted. 

I give the following in Mr. Tucker’s own words, 
under the title which he affixed to it : 


u When Lord Wellesley was proceeding to the Western Pro- 
vinces (I think in 1801), he was received in great state by the 
Newaub of Moorshedabad. 

“ In his Lordship’s brilliant suite were to be found the Persian 

translator, Mr. E ; and among many others, an A.D.C., to 

whom the following couplet was applied by a lady on another 
occasion : 

* Thus much we may say of our good friend C , 

That his name spells the same both forward and back.’ 

“ lie was of an elegant person: he danced delightfully (and 
so he docs stilD; and, above all, he was remarkable for the ex- 
quisite finish of his boots. In truth, he could show a leg with 
any man. 

u Upon this little hint, our friend E composed an elo- 

quent epistle from the Newaub to the A.D.C., expatiating in 
terms of ecstasy on the beauty and elegance of his boots; de- 
claring that they were fit to adorn the leg of the hero Roostum, 
or of that other hero, the wonderful Zaal, who was nursed by a 
Phoenix on the celebrated mountain Ulboorz; imploring the 
A.D.O. to say in what part of the world such boots were to be 
found, and whether the universe contained a second pair. 

“ The A.D.C. not knowing a word of Persian, flew to his 
friend, the translator, with a silken khureeta in his hand, and 
entreating to be made acquainted with its portentous contents. 

“No person could execute the translation better than the 
author of the original composition; and it was forthwith trans- 
fused into English, to the infinite delight of the admiring 

“ A most respectful and gracious reply was immediately die- 


tated. Nothing could exceed the pleasure, the gratitude, and 
pride of one to whom such a condescension had been shown ; 
and it would be the business of his life to manifest his devo- 
tion to his Highness, by laying at his feet, at the earliest pos- 
sible period, a similar pair of boots ! ! 

“ But the course of love does not always run smoothly; and 
even boots may sometimes encounter a stone. An officious 
wag dispeled the bright hopes which were beginning to dazzle 
the eye of the aspiring A.D.C. He was told that strange 
rumors were abroad — that it was surmised he was carrying on 
a clandestine correspondence with a native Prince, contrary to 
law — that this offence would subject him to the penalty of a 
praemunire — and that the least he had to expect was dismissal 
from the Service, with or without a court-martial. 

“ At this astounding intelligence, he hastened to take counsel 

of his friend E . Many wry faces were made — many doubts 

and apprehensions were intimated; but finally, it was agreed 
that he should throw himself upon the mercy of the Governor- 
General — candidly confess his error, and humbly solicit that it 
should be overlooked, in consideration of his inexperience and 
ignorance of the law. A letter was accordingly prepared, 
couched in the terms proposed; and the contrite A.D.C., with 
many misgivings, consigned it to his friend, to be presented to 
Lord Wellesley when he should be found in the most perfect 
good humor. 

“ The amende was gravely, but graciously accepted by his 
Lordship, who was cognisant of the whole affair, and was, per- 
haps, the prompter of the plot; and after a suitable admonition 
on the virtue of discretion, the happy A.D.C. was once more 
restored to the favor and smiles of the Governor-General. 

“ The moral of all this is, that, when under the influence of 
some dominant feeling, we become blind to the most transpa- 
rent absurdities.” 

The earlier part of the year 1805 was, to Mr. 
Tucker, a season of unwearying application to the 
business of the mercantile house; hut his health 
was not affected by the incessant labor, and his 



spirits were sustained by the thought that his period 
of exile was drawing to a close. Mr. Palmer had 
written out to him at the beginning of the year : 
“ I certainly shall enable you to make your election 
between the Service and the House in twenty months, 
when I promise myself the felicity of ta king you by 
the hand.” Mr. Tucker had made his election. He 
had determined, on the return of his friend to India, 
to retire from that country, and to take Mr. Palmer’s 
place in the House of Business at home. His at- 
tachment to his native country, and the warmth of 
his domestic affections, had never abated. It was, 
indeed, the chief solace of his life to think of the 
prospect before him of joining the family circle from 
which he had been so suddenly and violently de- 
tached as a boy, and contributing to the comforts of 
those dear ones who were not rich in worldly pos- 
sessions. This latter he had been doing for years. 
It would be an injustice, not merely to the subject 
of this memoir, but to the goodness that is in human 
nature, to withhold all notice of these things. Much 
has been said and written, in various times and 
various places, about the selfish luxuriousness of 
dwellers in the East — the drying up of the pure home 
feeling within them — their isolation, their arrogance, 
their uncharitableness. But hundreds upon hun- 
dreds have been kept alive in India solely by this 
good home feeling — by the hope of some day rejoin- 
ing the family circle, and renewing the associations 
of their childhood. And it would be hard, indeed, to 
say how many firesides in these British isles are 



brightened by the kindly generosity of absent sons 
and brothers, who esteem it their highest privilege 
to contribute to the comforts of the dear ones they 
have left behind. There is little truth in the popular 
belief that the environments of Indian life have a 
tendency to indurate and ossify the heart. The 
climate may parch and wither the body, but it does 
not dry up the well-spring of the affections. If 
that “ history of firesides,” of which the old poet 
declared the “want,” were written, it would not be 
found that the Indian exile, who leaves it as a boy, 
perhaps cast out as a reprobate, is the one who has 
contributed least to the joint-stock of happiness col- 
lected round the Christmas hearth. 

From Mr. Tucker’s private letters, written at this 
time, may be gathered how much he thought of his 
friends at home, and how it was the practice of his 
life to share his Indian earnings with them, though 
little was the time that he could snatch from his 
wearisome task-work to give expression to the 
strength of his affections. “ I have been so much 

engaged of late by business, my dearest N ,” he 

wrote briefly to his sister in January, 1805, “ that I 
have not been able to pay the least attention to my 
absent friends, or to any private duty of my own. 
I never was so harassed in all my life ; but it is now, 
I hope, pretty well over, and my health has received 
no prejudice from my hard labor. I write now 
merely to satisfy you that I am alive and well, for 
the packets are off, and I have only a few tired 
moments to dedicate to you. I sent off yester- 



day a few hasty lines for my father, for my con- 
science smote me; but do you make up for all 
my deficiencies in your letters to him. I slightly 
suggested the idea of his paying you a visit in 
England, where we may all perhaps have the satis- 
faction of meeting. It was done with a view to his 
gratification, and not to save myself a trip to Ber- 
muda. I shall see you, please Heaven ! about June 
twelvemonth, and I shall revisit Bermuda, if I live, 
at all events. I have been so often disappointed, 
however, that I scarcely allow myself to contemplate 
the happiness which I expect to enjoy in seeing once 
more my friends and country.” 

In March he wrote again, full of the solacing idea 
of his contemplated return to England : — “ Please 
Heaven, this time twelvemonth I shall be approach- 
ing towards old England, where the happiness of 
seeing you is not one of the last things I look to. 
Nothing, I hope, is likely to occur to disappoint 
me now, for I should feel a disappointment most 

In June he wrote again, still dwelling tenderly 
upon the same cheering thought, and in reply to 
some remarks in his correspondent’s letters about 
his self-denying generosity, asking what he could 
do better with his money than divide it with those 
he loved: — “ You have not,” he said, “kept me a 
day in this country, nor will you influence at all my 
return to it (for return I must). It is my fate to 
lead an unsettled life, and perhaps I should not be 



more happy if I had the means of retirement. 
This country, upon the whole, has many advantages ; 
and as my health is good, it will be no severe 
punishment to me to return to a respectable situa- 
tion in it. However, we will talk over all this when 
we meet a year hence ; and I wish you only to re- 
collect that you will destroy all the pleasure which I 
shall otherwise experience from affording you a little 
assistance, by showing me that it is at all painful to 
you to receive it. "Why should it be so ? and in 
what way can I derive more gratification from the 
use of money ? There are very few ways of spend- 
ing it from which I ever derived much satisfac- 

But the sustaining hope of the visit to England 
was not destined to be soon an accomplished fact. 
These dreams of the Euture, however, are not with- 
out their uses. To the Indian exile they are life 
and health; vigor and activity. The seat in the 
London counting-house was, after all, never to be 
taken. When Mr. Tucker announced to Lord Wel- 
lesley that the honored nobleman, under whose go- 
vernment he had first served, had been re-appointcd 
to the Governor-Generalship, he little thought how 
great an influence the appointment would exercise 
over his whole future life. But so it was. Mr. 
Tucker had chalked out for himself the unambitious 
career of an English merchant. But the State had 
need of his services. A crisis had arisen in the 
affairs of India, which rendered it necessary that the 



man, who had shown himself to he of all others the 
most competent to manage her Exchequer, should 
again actively concern himself with the practicalities 
of official life. India had need of a Einance Minis- 
ter in such an hour ; and Henry St.George Tucker 
was the man. 





, i 

Arrival of Lord Cornwallis — $tate of Public Affairs — Condition of the Pi- 
nances— Death of Cornwallis— Succession of Sir G. Barlow — Mr. Tucker 
re-appointed Accountant-General — Financial Measures— Their Unpopula- 
rity-Correspondence with Sir G. Barlow and others— Financial Results. 

On the 30th of July, 1805, Lord Cornwallis a 
second time took the oaths of office, and was pro- 
claimed Governor-General of India. Long years of 
hard service in the West and in the East had impaired 
his robust constitution ; hut his prudence, his ex- 
perience, and his great name were considered alike 
by the Court of Directors and the King’s Ministers 
more than sufficient to counterbalance the disadvan- 
tages of age and infirmity. And so the venerable 
nobleman was called from the retirement of his 
country seat at Culford, again to take part in the 
active concerns of public life. Reluctantly he con- 
sented to take what he himself called the “ rash step 
of returning to India and he went to his grave. 

To the student of Indian history there is nothing 
more interesting than this epoch — nothing in all the 
annals of British connexion with the East more 
suggestive of reflection, and provocative of contro- 
versy, than the incidents which this period embraced. 



Into the consideration of these events, even in the 
page of deliberate history, something of the old 
leaven of partisanship, which embittered cotempo- 
rary discussion,- h$s been suffered to enter ; and the 
Wellesley and Cornwallis schools of politics are still 
talked of as though it were a necessity that a public 
writer should belong to the one or the other. I do not 
myself perceive that the followers of the former 
nobleman were moved by a “ general frenzy for con- 
quest and victory,” or that those of the latter were 
weakly and pusillanimously regardless of the honor 
of their country. But I do see that in the autumn 
of 1805 the affairs of our British- Indian Empire were 
in such a state, that the course of policy to be pur- 
sued by its rulers had almost ceased to be matter of 
choice. The wisdom of the statesman was reduced 
to foolishness, and the might of the warrior to 
feebleness, by the stem necessities of an exhausted 
Treasury. There were great armies in the field, and 
there were great men eager to lead them to victory ; 
but the money-bags were in a state of collapse, and to 
play fe the grand game” any longer was, in the minds 
of men not inflamed by the excitement of the con- 
test, to precipitate ruin, and to steep the country in 

It is certain that the crisis was a great one. It is 
scarcely less certain that the magnitude -of the 
danger was not seen, in all its proportions, by those 
who, on the actual theatre of war, were dazzled by 
the brilliancy of the career which opened out before 
them, and could see nothing but the disaster and 



disgrace of abandoning a policy which had already 
been pursued so far, and with the consummation of 
which the honor of the British Government appeared 
to be so closely inwoven. But on the banks of the 
Hooghly, Lord Wellesley had begun to perceive the 
necessity of exercising a little more caution and for- 
bearance, and to recognise the truth that measures 
wise and expedient in themselves, are only wise and 
expedient so long as there are the means of carry- 
ing them into execution without engendering evils 
greater than any they are designed to prevent. And 
that these were the opinions of his successors stands 
recorded in their actions no less than in their words. 
It does not come within the scope of such a work as 
this to enter into the subject of our political rela- 
tions in Upper India at this time. It is enough for 
my present purpose to treat of the great financial 
question which Lord Cornwallis was now called upon 
to solve. The British- Indian Government was in a 
state of absolute bankruptcy. The alarm which was 
entertained in Leadenhall-street had communicated 
itself to the Home Ministry, and the new Governor- 
General was sent out with peremptory instructions 
at once to curtail the ruinous war-charges which 
were overburdening the State, whatever might be 
the result of such retrenchments upon the military 
and diplomatic operations then in progress in the 

On the 30th of July, as has been said, Cornwallis 
took, a second time, the oaths of office. It was, I 
believe, upon the very same, or on the following 

m 2 



day, tliat he sent for Mr. Tucker, and requested him 
again to take charge of the Public Finances. The Go- 
vernor-General, who knew well how the success of 
the measures, which he was now about to undertake 
in an hour of extreme peril, depended upon the 
ability of the Finance Minister who was to shape 
his plans of reform and to carry out all their details, 
had taken counsel with the chief functionaries who 
met him on his arrival, and inquired into the per- 
sonal agency at his disposal for the execution of the 
policy on which he had determined. He had known 
Mr. Tucker during his first tenure of office only as 
a young but a promising subordinate. During the 
years, however, of his absence from India, he had 
taken the liveliest interest in its concerns, and had 
continually corresponded with one of the ablest 
officers and readiest writers in the country. From 
Mr. Barlow he had never ceased to receive detailed 
accounts of all that had been passing in India ; and 
he must have been well acquainted with the services 
which Mr. Tucker had rendered as a financier 
during the early years of Lord Wellesley’s adminis- 
tration. What lie before heard was now repeated — 
what he before believed was now confirmed — by the 
representations of Barlow, Edmonstone, and Lums- 
den ;* and he determined, therefore, to endeavor to 
recall Mr. Tucker to his old place in the financial 

* Barlow — at this time Sir George Barlow, for his distinguished services 
had earned him a baronetcy— was senior Member of Council, Mr. Edmon- 
stone and Mr. Lumsden were the chief officers of the Secretariat 


By no man was Lord Cornwallis more respected 
and more beloved than by Mr. Tucker. No man 
saw more clearly than the old Accountant-General 
that the State had need, in such an emergency, 
of all the administrative capacity it could com- 
mand — and most especially in the department of 
Finance. But much as, on these accounts, it would 
have delighted him to return to his old office, he was 
compelled, at this time, to recognise the cogency of 
other more immediate claims. He could not, with- 
out injury to his associates in business, withdraw 
himself from the mercantile House with which he 
was connected, and of which his industry and ability 
had rendered him confessedly the main stay. It 
was, indeed, his primary duty, under the circum- 
stances which then surrounded him, to cling to the 
mercantile friends with whom he had linked himself, 
whatever might be the allurements which tempted 
him to return to the service of the State. He was 
still on the list of Government servants ; but he had 
made his election to retire. And the pledges which he 
had made to his associates could not then be violated 
without injury to the House and without discredit 
to himself. He could only, indeed, withdraw under 
a voluntary release from his partners in business, 
and the assurance that his withdrawal would not be 
detrimental to the House. 

The flattering offer made to him by Lord Corn- 
wallis was therefore declined. Whether any advice 
was elicited from him at this time I do not know, 
but the course adopted by Lord Cornwallis was that 



of which, had his opinion been sought, he would have 
cordially approved. Two days after his arrival, his 
Lordship addressed a letter to the Court of Directors, 
in which he said, “ I take the earliest opportunity 
of an overland despatch to inform you of my arrival 
at this place, and of my having taken upon me 
the office of Governor-General on the 30th ultimo. 
Finding, to my great concern, that we are still at 
war with Holkar, and that we can hardly be said to 
be at peace with Scindiah, I have determined to 
proceed immediately to the Upper Provinces, that I 
may be at hand to avail myself of the interval which 
the present rainy season must occasion to the mili- 
tary operations, to endeavor, if it can be done with- 
out a sacrifice of our honor, to terminate by nego- 
tiation a contest in which the most brilliant success 
can afford no solid benefit, and which, if it should 
continue, must involve us in pecuniary difficulties 
which we shall .hardly be able to surmount.” 

In fulfilment of the intentions here expressed, 
Lord Cornwallis set out immediately upon his 
journey, by water, to the Upper Provinces of India. 
On the 9th of August he wrote from his pinnace on 
the Ganges a more detailed letter to the Court of 
Directors. “One of the first objects,” he wrote, 
“ to which my attention has been directed since my 
accession to this government, was an inquiry into 
the state of our Finances, the result of which affords 
the most discouraging prospects.” And then, 
having enlarged upon the necessity of disbanding 
the large bodies of Irregular troops, the mainte- 



nance of which was then costing the State little less 
than six lakhs of rupees a month, and of paying up 
the arrears due to the regular forces, he went on 
to say : “ I am necessitated to look to an extraor- 
dinary resource in this state of things, and that 
which has presented itself to my mind as the most 
expedient is the detention of the treasure destined 
for China, and expected in the ships under the con- 
voy of Sir Thomas Troubridge. Whether that may 
be the full extent of 200,000/. advised to be intended 
for China, or whether a portion of it only is in those 
ships, I am not informed ; but the urgency of the 
case is so great here, that I have taken upon myself 
to direct the whole of what may be imported on 
that part of the China fleet to be landed at Madras, 
and to be forwarded immediately to this Presidency ; 
and I have also strongly urged the Madras Govern- 
ment, if they find they can spare 50,000/. of the 
specie allotted for the service of that Presidency, to 
consign that sum also to Bengal, applying to the 
Admiral for such protection for the despatch of the 
treasure as may obviate all risk from the danger of 
an enemy.” The crisis, indeed, was such, that it was 
necessary to sacrifice the Investment. The imme- 
diate demand for money utterly overwhelmed the 
thought of prospective advantage. 

Such were the first measures to which Lord Corn- 
wallis directed his attention. As he proceeded up 
the river, however, his health began to decline, and 
with only some transient intervals of delusive im- 
provement his malady increased upon him, until at 



Ghazeepore, on the 5th of October, he sunk into 
rest. Many deplored his return to office, and ques- 
tioned the wisdom of his measures ; hut all beloved 
and respected him living, and all lamented him 

Sir George Barlow had some time before been 
appointed provisional Governor-General. He now 
took the oaths of office. What Lord Cornwallis had 
desired, his successor also yearned and strove to 
accomplish — the re-appointment of Mr. Tucker to 
the Accountant- Generalship of Bengal. It seems that 
the latter had, some time before, promised Sir George 
Barlow, that if ever the Governor-Generalship de- 
volved upon him, he would become his chief Minister 
of Finance. The new Governor-General was not for- 
getful of this promise. A change had come over Mr. 
Tucker’s position with regard to the mercantile House 
of which he was a partner, since he had conceived 
himself necessitated to decline the flattering invita- 
tion of Lord Cornwallis. Mr. Palmer was now return- 
ing to Calcutta, and his arrival was shortly expected. 
It was now therefore in the power of Mr. Tucker to 
enter again into official life without injury to his 
associates. So he consented to take charge of the 

It was with no common feelings of delight that 
Sir George Barlow welcomed the succor which thus 
opportunely presented itself to him, at a time when 
the Government was beset with embarrassments and 
perplexities from which there seemed to be little 
hope of extrication. It was not a great military 



question — it was not a great political question — that 
had now to he solved. It was simply a Financial 
question. The Financial question had absorbed every 
other consideration ; and of little service to the State 
was it at such a time that the military skill of a 
Lake, and the diplomatic talents of a Malcolm, were 
continually at its command. What was wanted to 
save the country in such a juncture, was not a great 
Soldier, or a great Diplomatist, but a great Financier ; 
and now the Government had obtained the services 
of the man they needed, and Sir George Barlow was 
full of gratitude and joy, which he did not hesitate 
to express. The letter in which he communicates 
these sentiments to his friend, is written with a 
fervor the sincerity of which gleams out of every 
sentence : 


“ Saturday. 

“ Mr DEAR Tucker, — Incessant interruption has prevented 
me from answering your note. I am at a loss for words to ex- 
press my sense of this mark of your friendship. Your under- 
taking again the management of the Finances at this critical 
period under the circumstances supposed, would be of the 
greatest importance to the public interests and welfare, and the 
success which I am confident would attend your exertions 
would reflect the highest degree of credit on my Government, 
and constitute its chief support. I therefore accept your offer 
with joy and gratitude; and only hope that I shall not find you 
have made too great a sacrifice of your personal interests to 
your friendship for me. 

“I am persuaded there will be no difficulty with Davis; and 
I will make any consideration you may think proper to Eger- 
ton for waiving his claim to the succession, under the promise 
of it which I obtained from Lord Cornwallis. If you will call 



upon me to-morrow we will settle the whole arrangement as 
you may wish it should be made, if it is to take place. 

“ Believe me to be, with the greatest regard, 

Yours ever sincerely, 

“ G. H. Barlow.” 

The necessary official arrangements were soon 
completed. There was much good feeling on the one 
side, and of delicacy on the other. It was settled 
that Mr. Davis, the retiring Accountant-General, 
should make up the accounts of the old year, and 
retain his official designation until his departure for 
England, which was close at hand. That every con- 
sideration should he shown to his predecessor, and 
that Government should especially recognise his 
services, Mr. Tucker anxiously desired, and emphati- 
cally requested, whilst Mr. Davis upon his part ex- 
erted himself to facilitate an arrangement which he 
knew to he advantageous to the State.* On the 18 tli 
of October, Mr. Tucker took charge of the current 
business of the office.! A week before this, however, 

* “ I am to take charge of the current business from Davis to-morrow,’* 
he wrote to Mr. Lumsden, on the 17th of October. “ He has shown every 
possible desire to accommodate matters in the most satisfactory manner.” In 
another letter from Mr. Lumsden to Sir George Barlow, the writer says : 
“ Tucker desires me to say, that from what he has already seen he is satisfied 
that Davis is entitled to very high credit for his general management, that he 
has shown the most cheerful readiness to come into all his wishes, and that 
he (Tucker) hopes that you will record a handsome testimony of your sense 
of Davis’s conduct, on the occasion of his resignation of the office of Account- 

f It was arranged that Mr. Tucker should covenant to relinquish his con- 
nexion with the House of business within a month after the arrival of Mr. 
Palmer, which was then shortly expected. See letter from Mr. Lumsden to 
Sir G. Barlow (November 2, 1805), in which the writer says: “ In consequence 
of the arrival of your despatches for the Medusa, the meeting of Council in- 
tended to be held on Thursday was postponed by Mr. Udny till yesterday. 
Davids resignation was then ready, and Tucker’s appointment to the office of 



he had fully determined upon the measures which it 
behoved Government to prosecute in the existing 
crisis, and had written the following elaborate letter 
to the Governor-General : 


“11th Oct,, 1805. 

“My dear Sir George, — In consequence of Egerton 
having somewhat prematurely mentioned to Davis your in- 
tended arrangement for my succession to the office of Ac- 
countant-General, I thought it necessary to explain to the latter, 
and found that he had no objection to deliver over charge of 
the office whenever you might wish it. I thought it advisable, 
therefore, to inform myself of the state of affairs as soon as 
possible ; and as a few questions will call for your early atten- 
tion, I shall briefly advert to them. 

“ From a cursory view of the accounts, it would appear that 
our situation is such as to require the most particular attention. 
It must be thoroughly probed ; and when fairly exhibited, you 
will be convinced, I think, that nothing but the most deter- 
mined resolution, and the most vigorous measures, will extricate 
us from the greatest embarrassment. Our expenditure of late 
for military and political purposes has been enormous ; and 
instead of a surplus revenue, the Indian account proper ex- 
hibits at present a most lamentable deficiency. The supplies to 
the other Presidencies, too, and particularly to Bombay, appear 
to have been on a scale altogether disproportionate to our re- 

“Now, whatever wc may hope for from good management, 
or the influence of public opinion, our prosperity can never be 
solid or permanent unless it rest upon a substantial foundation, 
and this foundation must be a solvent account. If w T e go on 
upon a scale of expense far exceeding our income, the concern 

Accountant-General has been made. A note will appear in the proceedings, 
stating that Tucker will relinquish all concern in the House of Trail, Palmer, 
and Co., at the expiration of a month after the arrival of Mr. Palmer, which 
may be expected in the course of the present or the ensuing month.” 



to the Company, as I have before observed to you, must be 
ruinous, in whatever degree the nation may benefit from our 
possessions in India. 

44 1 am persuaded, therefore, that you will see the absolute ne- 
cessity of making a complete reform in our expenditure, not con- 
fining it to this Presidency, or stopping at slight reductions, but 
extending it so far as to bring our annual charge within our 
annual revenue at the very least. Should peace be happily re- 
established, I should hope that great reductions might be effected 
in the military establishments of Fort St. George and Bombay ; 
and this object cannot too soon or too forcibly be impressed 
upon the attention of those Governments, and of the Court of 
Directors. Here, too, I trust further reductions will be found 
practicable ; and it is of great importance that they should be 
made at as early a period as possible, consistently with a proper 
regard for our external and internal security. The magnitude 
of our military Establishments in the Western Provinces sub- 
jects us not only to a direct charge to an immense amount, but 
also to an indirect charge, by compelling us to remit from hence 
the deficiency upon the account of revenue and charge of those 
provinces at very great expense. 

“ I am apprehensive that the ten-per-cent, loan will not suc- 
ceed to such an extent as might have been wished, and I regret 
extremely that the interest was not allowed to have retrospec- 
tive operation, because it would have furnished a strong addi- 
tional motive for the transfer of the cash passes and Treasury- 
bills, and cur object should have been to render the loan as 
productive as possible, in order that we may not be compelled 
to recur to any similar expedient at a future period. Had the 
outstanding passes and a fair proportion of the Treasury-bills 
been transferred, I should have entertained sanguine hopes of 
our succeeding very soon in re-establishing the credit of our 
currency, which is the very first object to be attended to. 
About 28,00,000 rupees in passes still remain in demand against 
the Treasury; and if these be not transferred before the loan 
closes, which I scarcely now expect, some other means must be 
devised to relieve ourselves from them, and nothing occurs to 



me, at present, but to get them exchanged for bills at a pretty 
long sight on the provincial treasuries. This is a sort of anti- 
cipation of our land-revenue ; but still nothing can be done 
until we get rid of this encumbrance. The Treasury-bills out- 
standing amount to about 1,14,00,000 rupees ; but I am not 
alarmed at this sum. 

44 It will, be advisable, in my opinion, to open an eight-per- 
cent. loan as soon as possible after the ten-per-cent, loan closes, 
both for the purpose of supplying the remaining deficiency of 
the year, and of affording the military in Oude, &c., &c., an 
opportunity of realising their arrears, a proportion of which 
they are always glad to remit to the Presidency through the 
channel of the public loans. I have been reflecting a good 
deal on the terms which it would be expedient to grant ; and, 
after the best consideration I have been able yet to give th*s 
question, it appears to me that an eight-per-cent, loan at par 
will be most suitable to existing circumstances. I was disposed 
to think at first that a loan might be attempted even above par; 
but, considering our actual situation, I am apprehensive that 
this would be found too large a stride, and it is moreover ex- 
tremely desirable to fund a large proportion of the heavy 
arrears in Oude, for which a loan above par would scarcely 
afford sufficient inducement. I would keep the loan open but 
for a short period (say to the 1st February), in order that we 
may have more time to raise our terms gradually ; and should 
we succeed in this first step, the next loan, I should hope, 
might be opened at two per cent, above par. We must do 
everything possible to raise the eight-per-cents., that we may 
be able to offer by some subsequent loan next year favorable 
terms to induce the transfer of the tcn-per-ccnt. debt, amount- 
ing to a crorc of rupees, which becomes payable in January, 
1807. This debt will otherwise be most embarrassing. 

44 With regard to Investment, I can only say that Davis 
seems to think it will be impossible to furnish further advances 
this year; and I am much inclined to concur in the opinion, for 
the first consideration is to emancipate ourselves from a state of 
absolute bankruptcy, and to re-establish our credit. This done, 



we shall have a fair prospect of being able to furnish a proper 
Investment next year; but if we neglect to attend to this 
primary consideration, I can perceive no better ground for ex- 
pecting an Investment next year than we have had in the pre- 
sent. I understand, however, that some arrangement has been 
made for disposing of the shipping, founded on a presumption 
that an Investment to the amount of 80,00,000 rupees may be 
provided by the month of August next. This appears to me a 
most extravagant proposition — I believe no precedent for any- 
thing of the kind is to be found in times of our greatest pros- 
perity; but to attempt such a violent effort while w T e are yet in 
uncertainty whether we are at peace or war, and while our 
credit is in a state of great depression, would be both impru- 
dent and fruitless. I do not enter into the consideration of the 
question, how far it is wise to keep the ships here so long on 
demurrage on any uncertainty, or how far it is judicious to 
make a total alteration with respect to the period of sending 
home the annual Investment, because these are professional 
questions on which others are better informed — But I would 
not engage to furnish the means of providing this premature 
Investment, and I would not hold out expectations to the Court 
of Directors, which may influence their arrangements, when 
the expectation cannot be indulged upon any solid grounds. 

“ This is all which it occurs to me at present to mention on 
public business. I shall keep you regularly advised of every- 
thing; and after my appointment takes place, I shall wait upon 
Mr. Udny from time to time, and submit to him every mea- 
sure of importance which it may appear to me necessary to 
adopt. There is one little matter, however, which concerns 
myself individually, with which I must trouble you. I could 
wish to be permitted to occupy the apartments in the office 
which were heretofore occupied by my predecessors, and which 
are at present unoccupied. Independently of considerations of 
economy, comfort, and health (for the situation of the house is 
particularly favorable), I should experience real convenience 
from living in my office with my books and papers always 
about me. I could do business at hours when it might other- 



wise be impracticable — those under me would probably be 
more regular in their attendance when I should be always at 
hand to overlook them — and individuals with whom I might 
have business would not have to search for me in different 
places. This was sometimes, I believe, attended with no 
trifling inconvenience when I had three separate haunts, as I 
must have still for two or three months. If it be judged ne- 
cessary to put the house into a state of repair, it can now be 
done without incurring the expense of hiring another building 
for the temporary accommodation of the office, as I would give 
up my own house for the purpose. I am not, however, solicitous 
myself to have this done immediately, if it be not necessary, as 
I can always make my own apartments sufficiently comfortable. 
Nor have I a word more to say with respect to the arrange- 
ment if it be liable to the slightest objection.* 

“ Wc continue to receive none but the most afflicting 
accounts of poor Lord Cornwallis; but this distressing subject 
has been sufficiently long on your mind, and so it has on mine. 
I shall ever continue to revere his memory as the greatest of 
public characters and the most excellent of men. 

“ Believe me ever, very sincerely, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 

In all cases of pecuniary embarrassment, national 
or individual, the first step towards extrication must 
be a correct ascertainment of the debts and liabili- 
ties for which provision is to be made. It was cer- 
tain that in Upper India the military expenditure had 
been enormous, and that the pay of the army was 
greatly in arrears. What the exact deficiency was, 
Mr. Tucker set himself at the outset to ascertain ; 
but it will be gathered from the following letter, that 
correct information on this vital point was with 
difficulty to be acquired : 

* These arrangements were cheerfully sanctioned by the Governor-General; 
and Mr. Tucker re-occupied his old official residence. 




“ Calcutta, 13th October, 1805. 

“ My dear Sir George, — Lumsden favored me this morn- 
ing with the perusal of your letter to him of the 10th instant, 
and I hasten to communicate all the little information I can on 
a subject which must engage your particular attention. 

“ One of the first inquiries I made was to ascertain the arrears 
of the army in the Western Provinces, and they were stated 
to me, on the latest information obtained at the Accountant- 
General's office, at 33,00,000 rupees. To meet this and other 
demands, I learnt from Davis that 37,00,000 had been remitted 
in specie and bullion. 

Not being satisfied, however, that the arrear was ascertained 
to a period sufficiently late, I referred again to Egerton yester- 
day, but have not yet been able to obtain more accurate infor- 
mation. I have written also to Mr. Mackenzie, and when I 
can ascertain the probable extent of the demand I shall do 
everything in my power to provide for it. In the mean time I 
have sent for one of the principal shroffs, to see if it be possible 
to effect remittances from hence by Hoondee or otherwise. I 
have no great hopes of immediate success, but you shall be im- 
mediately advised if anything can be done. Perhaps the Com- 
mander-in-Chief or yourself may be able to draw on Moorshc- 
dabad at or near par, as the purchasers of your bills would be 
certain of obtaining payment in specie. You could not do so 
in Calcutta just now without stipulating for payment in specie, 
because the shroffs will certainly demand a difference of ex- 
change equal at least to the real or expected discount on the 
Treasury-bills. By drawing on Moorshcdabad, you would avoid 
the necessity of making a stipulation which is calculated to dis- 
credit the Treasury-bills; and I should do everything in my 
power to provide funds at that place to meet your bills. 

“ It is impossible that we should go on well if we continue 
so much in the dark with respect to the military disbursements 
in Oude, &c., for the distance is so great that the arrangements 
for furnishing the necessary supplies must be made long before 
they arc likely to be required. I have therefore furnished 



Lumsden with the form of an estimate, and have suggested 
that all the paymasters of the army be directed to forward one 
on the 1st of every month to the Accountant-General direct . 
If we are to wait for information until it passes through all the 
processes of the Military Department, we never can depend on 
receiving it in time. I do not mean to say that the present 
distress for supplies lias proceeded from not knowing our 
wants, for we have not actually possessed the means of supply- 
ing them ; but still the information is essential. 

“ It occurred to me that some person experienced in accounts 
(Sherer, for instance) might be of great use, either with you 
or the Commander-in-Chief ; but I hear that Mr. Nugent has 
been appointed to superintend the accounts of the army ; and 
if you will only direct him to keep the Accountant-General 
regularly informed of the arrears, probable disbursements of the 
army, &c., &c., every necessary purpose will, I trust, be an- 

“Every possible attention will be paid to the state of 
Colonel Collins* treasury ; and if means can be devised for 
supplying it at an early period, I will not fail to let you know. 
It must, in fact, be considered one of the treasuries of the 

“ Believe me ever, very sincerely, &c., 

“ II. St.G. Tucker. 

4 4 P.S. — I find, from Mr. Mackenzie, that he has no account 
of the military arrears in Oude later than the 31st of July, 
when they amounted to Sicca rupees 33,00,000, as noted by 
Egerton (Sonaut rupees 35,00,000). 

“H. T.” 

A few days afterwards lie wrote again to tlie 
Governor-General, urging upon him, in emphatic 
language, the necessity of prompt and decisive mea- 
sures, regardless of all scruples on the score of 
personal considerations : 





Calcutta, 19th October, 1805. 

41 My bear Sir George, — Lumsden will have informed 
you that Davis readily assented to everything that was pro- 
posed regarding the future arrangement of the office, and I now 
attend to the current business, and shall take charge from him 
regularly, as soon as he can complete the annual accounts of the 
past year. 

“ I have held in mind the necessity of making provision for 
the supply of the army in the field, and orders have been sent 
to the collectors of Behar to make a remittance in specie to 
Cawnpore with all possible expedition. I am in hopes that 
three or four lakhs may be sent off immediately, and you or the 
Commander-in-Chief will of course give the necessary orders for 
the disposal of the money on its arrival at Cawnpore. Much 
cannot be done at present. I could obtain Hoondees for a few 
lakhs of rupees on Lucknow, in exchange for bills on our Bengal 
treasuries; but it will be giving away our only resource here, 
and I wish, therefore, to wait a little before I adopt this mea- 
sure. If I find that the money is absolutely necessary for the 
army, all other objects must give place to this paramount con- 

“The loan closes to-day; and I fear it will not have suc- 
ceeded to the extent necessary to relieve us from our embarrass- 
ments. The amount of Treasury passes outstanding has in- 
creased within a day or two, instead of being diminished; and 
to place the Treasury in a solvent state will now be impossible. 
We have only about seven lakhs of our English money remain- 
ing to meet demands to a very large amount, independently of 
a heavy arrear. 

“ I have prepared the plan of an eight-per-cent, loan, which 
I propose to submit to Mr. Udny immediately. I propose that 
subscriptions should be received at par — that the acknowledg- 
ments should bear an interest of ten per cent, per annum, until 
they are exchanged for notes — and that, in the instance of cash 
passes and Treasury-bills, interest should be allowed at the same 
rate (ten per cent.) from their respective dates , instead of the in- 



terest which they severally bear at present. The same reasons 
which induced me to recommend that interest should be allowed 
retrospectively at ten per cent, on subscriptions to the present 
loan, apply equally to the proposed loan ; and I have some hopes 
that the difference of interest which will be obtained may 
operate as an inducement to individuals to transfer their cash 
passes and Treasury-bills which have been long outstanding. It 
is very desirable of course to get rid of these, for while the 
passes hang over us, we can never re-establish our credit, and 
the old Treasury-bills, as they come in, will be converted in 
general into these passes. Moreover, the service to be provided 
fcor this year is so extensive and urgent, that we must have a 
■productive loan, and every inducement should be held out to 
render it so. 

“With respect to investment, I am much afraid that it will 
be quite impossible to furnish any further advances this year. 
Had the loan taken off nearly the whole of our cash passes, I 
was in hopes that something further might have been done for 
the investment; but we have not only to encounter still a large 
deficiency here, but we must attend to the supply of the army 
as an object of the first consideration. 

“ As soon as Davis has finished the accounts of last year 
and the estimate of the present, it is my intention to prepare for 
you a brief abstract calculated to exhibit our real situation, or 
the present state of the account proper of India, unconnected 
with the supplies to or from Great Britain. I fear it will exhi- 
bit a very discouraging result; but I confidently rely on your 
exerting every degree of energy to give a different complexion 
to our affairs. From all I have seen, I am firmly persuaded 
that another year of improvident expenditure on the scale of the 
past, would have exposed us to the most serious calamity, and 
the mischief is only now to be averted by the most determined 
conduct on your part without regard to personal considerations 
of any kind. You will excuse my writing to you with freedom, 
for you know that I can have but one motive. Reflect for one 
moment what might be apprehended if, after going on antici- 
pating our resources, we came at length to that point that we 

N 2 



could no longer pay our troops. It is obvious that an army 
cannot be of any use unless it can be moved, and that it cannot 
be moved unless it can be subsisted. We have touched very 
nearly upon this point already; and if we had not received so 
liberal a supply of money from England, I know not how you 
could have undertaken another campaign. If any accident 
should happen during your administration, the blame and 
responsibility will attach to you, although the mischief may 
have been prepared by others. I do not mean that you are to 
be influenced by the consideration of what may happen to 
yourself. The object to be attended to is the public interest; 
and this is inseparable from your own. I only hope that you 
will not allow delicacy towards others, nor any collateral consi- 
deration, to interfere with the steady pursuit of this object. 
You are placed in a most delicate and a most arduous situation ; 
and the most determined firmness can alone, I think, enable you 
to avoid very great embarrassments. 

“ I know little of our political situation, and it would not, 
therefore, become me to say anything on the subject. Peace is 
evidently most desirable, if it can be established on a solid 
foundation; for, until it be restored, we cannot expect to get 
rid of the enormous military charge which at present oppresses 
us. I trust, however, that as far as reform can be effected, 
both military and civil, you will do everything possible to ac- 
complish it, whether we are to have peace or war. Much may 
be done, no doubt, if we set seriously to work; and that it is 
necessary, both with a view to the public interests and your 
own reputation, that a very material reform should be made, 
there cannot be a doubt. 

“ 20 th October . — I was interrupted yesterday, and was unable 
to conclude my letter. 

“ On looking more minutely into the accounts, it appears to 
me that the difficulties which Davis has had to encounter have 
not been fairly appreciated. They have been very great. I 
have not had for some time past a favorable opinion of our 
situation; but I never apprehended that our expenditure, pro- 



fuse as I suspected it to have been, was on such a scale. I was 
as much surprised to hear of a military disbursement of 
3,40,00,000 of rupees, as I should have been if it had been 
ten times that amount. It is not, too, in the Military Depart- 
ment only where this lavish expenditure appears to have taken 
place of late. Considering, therefore, the difficulties wjiicli 
Davis has had to surmount, I trust that you will bear ample 
testimony to his merits. It will be but bare justice. He has 
manifested, too, the greatest desire to accommodate and to 
comply with your wishes in everything relating to the change 
in the office. 

“ It is very possible, I think, that our late expenditure here 
may be severely scrutinised in England, as in my opinion it 
ought to be ; but whether it is, or not, I trust you will put an 
immediate stop to it. 

“I most earnestly conjure you not to leave the public purse 
in the hands in which it has been placed for some time 
past. I trust that you will take everything into your own 
hands, and look to everything yourself. Let military men lead 
our armies ; but do not make statesmen and financiers of men 
who have not been formed such, either by nature or education. 
If you wish me to speak more plainly, I will do it ; for I have 
no idea of delicacy when there are great interests at stake. In 
all matters of public duty, I am disposed at all times to say and 
do what I think right and proper, without the smallest regard to 
consequences. Is it not a miserable state of things, as Malcolm, 
I think, very naturally asks, that the movement of our armies 
should be obstructed, and those armies prevented from 1 driving 
Holkar to the devil,’ for the want of a few lakhs of rupees? But 
who has brought on this state of things? And is it not more 
lamentable still that the fate of a great empire should in a great 
measure be in the hands of a man who manifests such total igno- 
rance on one branch of duty (the administration of finance) which 
seems to have been especially entrusted to him of late? You 
will excuse my harping on this subject, and indeed my agi- 
tating it at all. Nothing but my feeling the deepest interest in 



the prosperity of our affairs, and the success of your adminis- 
tration, could have induced me to write on it. 

“ I have just had the perusal of poor Lord Cornwallis’s in- 
structions to Lord Lake of the 19th ultimo, and was particu- 
larly gratified at observing the moderate course of policy which 
it appears to have been his intention to pursue. I have also 
had a long and confidential conversation with Robinson, which 
has afforded me a good deal of information with regard to his 
Lordship’s sentiments and intentions. I shall never cease to 
revere his memory ! May you happily conclude what he sacri- 
ficed himself to accomplish. 

“Believe me ever, very sincerely, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ 20th October, 1805. 

“P.S. — The loan has produced only 60,00,000 rupees, and I 
am sorry to say that it has called in but a small proportion of 
the outstanding passes. 

“H. T.” 

These manly utterances are to be admired; but 
Sir George Barlow needed no such stimulants to 
urge him to do what he believed to be the duty of 
the chief ruler. Of the character and the conduct 
of this statesman different opinions have been ex- 
pressed. There is a mist of controversy about him. 
History has taken note of him, chiefly to condemn ; 
but they who have censured him most have under- 
stood him least, and he never lived to see justice 
done to him. His great moral courage, however, 
has never been questioned even by the most viru- 
lent of his assailants, and it shone forth conspicu- 
ously at this time. He was one of those men who 
never shrink from responsibility, but go straight 
to the work before them without halting or waver- 



ing, or turning aside to regard personal distractions. 
“I am fully sensible,” he WTote to Mr. Tucker, on 
the 18th of October, “ of the nature and extent of 
our financial difficulties, and that there is no other 
mode of overcoming them but that which you have 
described. You may rely that in this, as in all other 
points, I shall pursue, without hesitation, the direct 
course of my public duty. I shall rely on your 
pointing out to me, from time to time, such articles 
of expense as may appear to you to admit of being 
reduced, and as may escape my notice.” And again, 
a week or two afterwards, he wrote: “You may 
confidently rely on my executing, without hesitation, 
whatever the exigencies of the Public Service may 
require, in the most prompt and decided manner. 
Lumsden will inform you that I had resolved to 
pursue the line of conduct which you have so justly 
stated to be absolutely necessary for the public in- 
terests, as well as for the maintenance of my own 
character, in the very arduous and responsible situa- 
tion in which I have been thrown. I entirely concur 
in all your able reasoning upon this subject, and 
shall regulate my conduct accordingly, without re- 
gard to any personal consequences or considerations 
whatever. Lumsden will probably have informed 
you that I have taken the most decided steps with 
reference to this course of proceeding. I cannot 
sufficiently thank you for the warm interest you take 
respecting me, nor for the undisguised manner in 
which you have stated to me the difficulties of my 
situation. Confidently rely, that in so doing you 


have added greatly to my esteem and affection for 
you ; and I trust that you will find me deserving of 
the confidence you have reposed in me.” And in a 
later letter he wrote, still in the same strain, but 
with more emphatic earnestness : u I entreat, my 
Mend, that you will continue to write to me with 
the utmost freedom ; for no person can he more fully 
sensible than myself that my character and future 
happiness depend upon my doing not what I wish, 
or what I think right, but what is actually right. 
I trust, however, that in future you will always 
suppose that when your opinion differs from mine, 
or when events shall prove that I have erred, that I 
at least acted for the best, and under the influence 
of public motives exclusively, without any private 
motive in view whatever.” 

There was little fear of two men, who entered into 
their work thus manfully and in the same spirit, 
not co-operating heartily together. What they had 
to do may be gathered, in some measure, from Mr. 
Tucker’s letters already quoted. In a few words, it 
was to find money for present emergencies, and to 
dimini sh the future expenditure of the State. The 
former was to be done by applying to immediate 
purposes the money which, under ordinary circum- 
stances, would have been devoted to the Investment, 
and by opening a new loan. The latter was to be 
done by a reduction in every department of the 
State, and especially by a reduction of the war- 
charges. “ The great reforms from which we are 
to expect relief,” wrote Sir George Barlow to Mr. 



Tucker, “must be made in the Political and in the 
Military expenses ; and, depend upon it, I will not 
stop until I have rendered our expenses propor- 
tionate to our income. The danger to which we 
are exposed whilst our finances remain in their pre- 
sent melancholy state is, in my opinion, infinitely 
greater than any danger which we are likely to 
incur by the reduction of our military and political 
expenses to the scale which I have stated.” And 
again, in another letter : “ Lumsden will have in- 
formed you of the orders for the return of the Bom- 
bay army to Goozerat, and I have taken measures 
for the reduction of all war-expenses both at Port 
St. George and Bombay ; and I am now preparing 
further orders for effecting reductions in their ordi- 
nary military expenses to the extent which may be 
practicable consistently with our security. I shall 
not, indeed, scruple to expose that security to some 
little hazard to avoid the greater danger resulting 
from the deranged and embarrassed state of our re- 
sources. Lord Lake has assured me that he has 
every reason to hope he shall be able to order all 
the troops on this side into Cantonments without 
delay, excepting a light army, which he proposes to 
retain under his own personal command, until we 
have brought matters to a termination with Holkar, 
which I trust we shall be able to effect in a very 
short period of time. Lumsden will have informed 
you of the reductions which I have ordered or pro- 
posed in the civil branch of our establishments 
here; and I believe that I have anticipated or 



adopted all your suggestions on this subject. I ain 
firmly determined to proceed in making reductions 
throughout India, until we have rendered our fixed 
expenditure proportionate to our income.” 

These views were entirely in unison with those 
entertained by Mr. Tucker, who saw, perhaps even 
more distinctly than the Governor-General himself, 
the dangers which surrounded our position ; for the 
one subject of Finance was ever present to his 
thoughts. From all quarters there was a cry for 
money, and who could be more painfully conscious 
of our embarrassments than the man whose duty it 
was to provide it — if he could? But to respond 
satisfactorily to all these demands was clearly an 
impossibility. “ If it would answer any useful pur- 
pose to enter into details of our situation,” he wrote 
to Mr. Edmonstone, towards the close of November, 
“ you would see how impossible it is at the present 
moment to provide for the demands which are 
pressing upon us from all quarters. I yesterday re- 
ceived a statement showing that the troops in 
Bundlekund are six months in arrear, (there will be 
above fifteen lakhs due to them at the end of the 
present month,) and some of them have not even 
been completely paid for April and May. The Grand 
Army is also greatly in arrear. There are defi- 
ciencies in every principal Treasury in the country. 
Our general Treasury has long been bankrupt. Our 
currency is vitiated, and our means of borrowing 
are pretty well exhausted.” “ We have been going 
on very heedlessly,” he added, “ towards a precipice, 


and it will require a good strong arm and a skilful 
horseman to pull up without a tumble.” 

A few weeks afterwards, in a letter to Sir George 
Barlow, he entered upon an elaborate review of the 
Financial position of the country, and the difficulties 
and obstructions which impeded his efforts to meet 
the demands which were made upon the Public 
Treasury, and to substitute something like order for 
the confusion in which the accounts were involved. 
The letter affords so clear an insight into the cha- 
racter of these difficulties, that it would be well to 
give it with scarcely an erasure : 


“Calcutta, 12th December, 1805. 

il My dear Sir George, — .... I understand that you 
have begun upon your intended reform ; but I fear what has been 
done, or what can be done immediately, will afford but a very 
trifling and inadequate relief. Unless the charge of the army 
can be reduced at least one-fourth at all the three Presidencies, 
and the charge of the Political Department in a much greater 
proportion, the retrenchments which can be made in the other 
branches of the service will not be felt, and India will continue, 
as at present, a heavy charge upon England, instead of contri- 
buting to the resources of the empire. The accompanying copy 
of one of the monthly cash accounts of one of our foreign Resi- 
dents, will show you to what a height the charges of this 
department have been carried ; and the register of bills drawn 
by the same Resident, a copy of which is also enclosed, will 
show the enormous expense incurred in supplying funds for 
this wasteful disbursement. The sum of 41,985 rupees appears 
to have been lost in drawing a single bill upon Hyderabad, 
where the currency is in a most wretched debased state, as you 
will probably hear in due season from other quarters. I do not 
mean to say that the charges of the Residency latterly are upon 



the same scale; but they are still enormous, and I know not 
how they can be reduced within moderate bounds but by 
allowing the Residents a fixed salary to defray all personal 
expenses of every description, in the same manner as is done 
at Lucknow. The salary of 7000 rupees per month would be 
ample, 1 think, for a Resident at a fixed station; and if at any 
time he should be compelled to move, a fixed allowance (say 
1000 rupees per month) might be granted for camp-equipage, 
&c., contingencies. I know it was your object to accomplish 
something very like this; but it would be better, I think, to 
place all the Residencies at once upon the footing of that at 
Lucknow. Much trouble, too, would be saved; for there 
would be no occasion to audit their charges, &c. 

“ You are not aware, perhaps, that the Dawkes at the dif- 
ferent Residencies are maintained at a very great expense. 
Some reform here may be practicable; and a very great reform 
is necessary in the regulation of the Post Office generally. 
Nothing can be more lamentable than the manner in which the 
business of it is conducted at present. 

“ You have not, I believe, been furnished with any statement 
of the fixed establishment of the Military Department (the 
staff, &c.). It may be well, therefore, to call for a copy of the 
Auditors abstract statement; as it may appear to you that re- 
trenchments can be made in this department. 

The loan, I am concerned to observe, scarcely produces 
anything, and I have now abandoned all hope of being able to 
provide for the deficiency of the year by any means which at 
present occur to me. The demands from all quarters arc 
immense, and particularly from Bombay, where you will be 
astonished to hear that their disbursements for military pur- 
poses are at present at the rate of 17,00,000 rupees per month, 
or above 2,00,00,000 rupees per annum. The resources of 
India cannot possibly support the present charge, nor can we 
even borrow to the extent of the deficiency. The capital of 
India, although large, is not at all equal to the supply of the 
demands which have been made upon it of late: there has 
been much anticipation, as I have already observed — and now 
I have some reason to suspect that individuals are withdrawing 



their capital, in many instances, from the public funds. This 
proceeds partly, perhaps, from the apprehension excited by the 
great depreciation of our currency of late, and the reports of 
the distress for money experienced all over the country ; and 
partly — but in a less degree — from there being a demand for 
capital for commercial purposes, the indigo and cotton specu- 
lations having been very successful of late. 

“ The discount on the Treasury-bills rose lately to eleven per 
cent. ; and it is impossible to say where it will stop, or how 
business can be carried on if it continues. To get rid of it 
will be a matter of great difficulty, and will require much 
time; for it is not only established into a habit, but there are 
many individuals deeply interested (and some, I am sorry to 
say, most improperly so) in perpetuating it. I shall do all 
I can to overcome it ; but without any prospect of immediate 
success. The treasure expected from England by the July 
Fleet will be of great assistance to us; but I have no idea now 
that it will relieve us from our difficulties, as I once hoped it 
would have done. Of the extent of these difficulties, I doubt 
whether you have yet a just conception; but they will force 
themselves into notice sooner or later. I am not apt to be 
terrified at distant dangers; but it is the part of prudence to 
look forward to them, and it is pusillanimity often which makes 
us shut our eyes upon what we do not wish to see. Judging 
from present appearances, I think it not only very improbable 
that we shall be able to provide an investment, even on the 
smallest scale, in the ensuing year, but I think it doubtful 
whether we shall have the means of providing for the payment 
of the army — for the salt and opium advances — and other in- 
dispensable disbursements. With all our resources in the three 
ensuing months, we shall not be able to get rid of the present 
arrear; and after the month of February our receipts from the 
land-revenue will be inconsiderable, and we cannot expect to 
receive specie from any other source. A supply of specie, 
however, to a certain extent, you must be sensible, is abso- 
lutely necessary; and if we cannot procure it, the public service 
may be completely at a stand, and the most serious mischief 
may be the consequence. While we continue to be burdened 



with a heayy arrear, and while our Treasury -bills remain depre- 
ciated, not a rupee in cash will be received from the salt, 
opium, and other branches of the revenue. The discount on 
the Treasury-bills has become so serious a charge, that indi- 
viduals are beginning to have two prices for their goods, 
according as payment may be made or promised in specie or 
bills; and a difference of twelve per cent, has been made of 
late, I understand, between these two rates. Nor is it very 
surprising, considering all circumstances (our inability to dis- 
charge the demands upon us — the manner in which money has 
been taken up in Oude, &c., &c.), that things should be in their 
present state. It has been reported among the shroffs here, 
and it is, I fancy, very generally believed, that Lord Lake has 
been taking up money for bills on the provincial treasuries at 
65 rupees per cent. I, myself, have no information of anything 
of the kind; and I cannot believe it possible that he can have 
drawn at such a rate; but, admitting the fact, it will not appear 
surprising that the public should consider us in the last stage 
of bankruptcy, and act accordingly. The idea of preserving 
credit, or of preserving bread and water for our subsistence 
under such circumstances, would be romantic in the ex- 

“ The Bombay Government have not yet furnished a copy of 
their annual accounts ; but as soon as they are received, I will 
prepare and submit to you an abstract statement, showing the 
deficiency upon the Indian Account of Revenue and Charge in 
1804-5 and 1805-6, on estimate. It will convince you, I think, 
that the deficiency is so great as to render it impossible that it 
should be raised from the capital of this country by any ordi- 
nary means. Even in England, where a large proportion of the 
capital of the whole world centres, there is a limitation to 
borrowing ; and you may perceive, from what has recently 
transpired, to what difficulties the Government were reduced, 
and to what objectionable expedients they were obliged some- 
times to have recourse, in consequence of the magnitude of the 
public disbursement. To this day the Bank has not recovered 
itself ; and it is very questionable whether the whole system of 
our country has not experienced a very injurious change. See 

responsibility op government. 


Lord King’s pamphlet, and other publications on the same 

“ Here we are, in fact, in a new country, where there is no 
fictitious capital arising from credit ; and it is utterly impossible 
to raise resources beyond a certain moderate extent. If, there- 
fore, we strain our means, the most serious inconvenience is to 
be apprehended. 

“ You will, I fear, suspect that I have a pleasure in dwelling 
upon this gloomy topic ; but I can assure you that the reverse is 
very much the case. I have thought it my duty to represent our 
situation to you in what appear to me to be its true colors ; and it 
rests with you to draw just inferences, and to act according to 
the exigency of the case. The whole weight is upon you — I have 
no responsibility to apprehend ; for if I had, I should consider 
it necessary to address you publicly on the present state of our 
affairs, in order that I might not incur censure for improvidence 
and a want of foresight. I shall not willingly recur to this 
subject ; and 1 trust that I have said enough to admit of my 
taking leave of it altogether, otherwise than to submit to you 
such accounts as may be necessary for your information 

“ Some embarrassment has been experienced also from the 
base coin issued a year or two ago from the Illahabad Mint, 
and Government are experiencing a heavy and a constantly 
recurring loss in consequence. I know not what to recommend 
to do away the evil ; for we are too poor just now to call in the 
coin. This question was treated with singular neglect, con- 
sidering the very strong representation which Davis made at 
the time to Government ; and I shall not be surprised if this, 
among various other matters, should attract the particular notice 
of the Government at home. The accounts of our military and 
political expenditure of late, will, I have no doubt, become the 
subject of inquiry ; and this is one motive for my urging on 
you so strongly the necessity of making every practicable reform 
with the least possible delay. A still stronger motive, however, 
arises from the real exigency of the case. 

“ I was happy to hear, within a few days, that you intended 
to proceed to the westward ; and I am only sorry that you 
found it necessary to halt at all at Illahabad. I have not said 



anything on this subject, because I was ignorant of your reasons 
for not proceeding further, and I did not suspect that you would 
have stopped so long at that place. The only reason which I 
have heard suggested for the delay, was delicacy towards the 
Commander-in-Chief, whose local authority and influence you 
did not wish to supersede or interfere with ; but this delicacy, 
I imagine, cannot have been necessary, or have influenced your 
proceedings in any degree on the occasion. 

“ Believe me ever, very sincerely, &c., &c., 

“ II. St.G. Tucker. 

“ 13 th December, 1805.” 

This was but a gloomy picture of the existing 
state of affairs. At the end of the month, however, 
he wrote somewhat more cheerfully, though still 
there were great evils to be contended with, and 
great obstacles to be surmounted. “ I have learnt 
with great satisfaction,” he said, in a letter to Sir 
George Barlow, written on the last day of 1805, 
“ that you are prosecuting your reforms with vigor, 
and I hope that the early return of the Army to 
Cantonments will enable you to extend them to those 
branches of the service where there is most room for 
reform. At the other Presidencies, also, there is 
certainly great room for amendment. The enclosed 
papers from Port St. George will show you on what 
ruinous terms they have been raising money of late 
at that Presidency. The practice of purchasing 
specie is a miserable expedient indeed ; and if entire 
dependence cannot be placed on the officer employed, 
it is liable to the greatest abuse. Is it possible that 
we could have gone on long in the course we have 
been pursuing for some time past ? We have been 
consuming a moderate revenue in interest, ex- 



change, and premiums. The loss incurred on this 
account is so great, that it will never be believed in 
England that it can have been incurred without the 
grossest misconduct on the part of the Government 
and the public servants. Had the fact been stated 
to me, I should not have believed it.” “But,” he 
added, a little further on, continuing in a more hope- 
ful strain, “ if the Commander-in-Chief does not 
find it necessary to interfere, by drawing or other- 
wise, I have great hopes that we shall be able, by- 
and-by, to reduce everything to order, and to make 
arrangements for applying our resources to our 

wants in the most advantageous manner 

Within a few days we have succeeded in getting 
down the discount on Treasury-bills to a moderate 
rate (four or five per cent.) ; but whether we shall 
succeed in reducing it further, or how long we shall 
keep it at this rate, I cannot pretend to say. It had 
risen to a most alarming height (between eleven 
and twelve per cent.), and I began to apprehend 
that an entire stop would be put to all commercial 
transactions. I shall do everything in my power to 
support the credit of our currency ; but you must 
be sensible how diffi cult it will be to accomplish this 
object, when the Treasury-bills have become quite a 
matter of traffic, and all those engaged in the traffic 
have an interest in causing the most violent fluctua- 

“ The Loan,” he continued, “ has produced only 
about ten or eleven lakhs of rupees ; but it has sup- 
ported the credit of the Public Securities, which 




have lately, I am happy to say, experienced a trifling 
rise. I have encouraged the disposition to rise by 
making large purchases on account of the Sinking 
Fund; and if we could but get rid of our present 
burdensome arrear, I should indulge very sanguine 
hopes of raising the credit of our paper, and of 
restoring even the circulation of our Treasury-bills 
in a short time. Next year, at all events, every- 
thing will, I trust, be in a more prosperous state, 
provided always that you are enabled to effect the 
extensive reform which I am at present encouraged 
to expect. If a favorable change be not effected, 
we shall be very ill-prepared to meet the ten-per- 
cent. debt, which becomes due this time twelve- 
month ; but bad as is the present state of affairs, I 
hope for a great deal from the Future. My best 
efforts will not be wanting to ensure success.” 

An opportune arrival of bullion from England in 
the early part of the year (1806), did much to facili- 
tate the operations of the Accountant-General ; and 
Mr. Tucker, in the month of March, referring espe- 
cially to this seasonable remittance, wrote to Mr., 
afterwards Sir George, Robinson, a Director of the 
East India Company, the following account of the 
financial prospects of the State : 


“ Calcutta, 12th March, 1806. 

“My dear Sir, — A s you feel interested, I am persuaded, 
in our proceedings in this part of the world, I shall trouble you 
with a large packet, if the papers can be copied in time for the 
Thalia , for the purpose of showing you how we are going on 
in the department of finance* 



< « The large and seasonable supply of bullion j ust received from 
England will be of infinite service to us ; and I trust that we 
shall make good use of it. We have been in a most lamentable 
state of poverty and distress of late; but I flatter myself that the 
current will soon be turned. If the military establishments be 
immediately reduced to a proper scale — if we continue at peace 
— and the Court of Directors continue to assist us with supplies 
of bullion to a moderate extent, I would be answerable for the 
speedy re-establishment of our finances, and I should hope to 
commence a reduction, in a very short time, in the present 
enormous charge of interest. 

“ You may be surprised that I should express any doubt with 
respect to the continuance of peace ; but I must confess I have 
never had any great confidence in our new situation. When 
things have been so much disturbed as they have been of late, 
they do not easily settle into order. Our present ‘political 
relations 7 are not, in my opinion, very well calculated to secure 
permanent tranquillity. 

“You may also be surprised that I should entertain a doubt 
with respect to the immediate reduction of our military esta- 
blishments ; but although Sir G. Barlow has with heart and 
soul urged on this reform, little has yet been accomplished. The 
Irregulars are still an intolerable burden upon us. Great efforts, 
however, have been made, at great expense, to provide funds 
for discharging them, as well as all extra military establish- 
ments maintained during the war ; and if they are not now 
discharged, you will be able to form as accurate a judgment of 
the reasons as I can pretend to do. 

“ We are now besieging Gohud, in order, I believe, that we 
may be in a capacity to deliver over the country which has been 
ceded by us. Some little loss has been sustained in an attack 
upon an outpost ; but it is expected that we shall soon obtain 
possession of the place. 

“Captain BailUe is engaged in resuming the Joidaad lands 
in Bundlekund, from which we hope to obtain a considerable 
increase of revenue. He has gone on successfully hitherto ; but 
I shall not be much surprised if the object should not be accom- 
plished without military operations. 

o 2 



“ The army under Lord Lake is still at Delhi, having a con- 
siderable detachment in advance at Panniput, under Colonel 
Bum. This advanced position will be maintained, I believe, 
until Holkar thinks proper to move on to his own territory. 
He is at present employed, we hear, in squeezing his friends the 
Sikhs a little ; and when he may be disposed to leave 4 the 
right bank of the Hyphasis,’ it is not very easy to say. I sus- 
pect you will be a little surprised in England to find us engaged 
on the theatre of the Macedonian conqueror. There are not 
many men whom I will suspect hastily of possessing the en- 
lightened mind and extended views of the son of Philip ; but 
there are a few in camp who might, perhaps, personate him in 
some other respects, and I am not quite certain that this idea 
has not occurred to their own minds. 

“The Rajpoot Rajahs are about to take up arms for the 
purpose of deciding their claims to the fair hand of the Princess 
of Oudipoor ; and as Scindiah feels deeply interested in the 
question, and Holkar is supposed to be not altogether indifferent 
to the young lady s fate, hopes may be entertained that she will 
make a very desirable diversion in our favor. The gallantry of 
our Alexanders, however, if they were left to themselves, would, 
I believe, induce them to take a very active part in resolving 
this connubial difficulty. 

“ If the Honorable Court of Directors feel any curiosity to 
ascertain exactly the causes of the present derangement of their 
affairs, I hope they will refer to Davis, for he will be able to 
give them full and accurate information, and he is a man who 
will tell a plain unvarnished tale. I do not, however, despair of 
overcoming our difficulties in time, as you will perceive from the 
tenor of my remarks on the Estimate for 1806-7, which I have 
the pleasure to enclose. There are some reserves and provisos, 
it is true ; but still I have great hopes that we shall succeed 

“ I have nothing to add respecting the estate of poor Lord 
Cornwallis — nor, indeed, on any other subject which can 
interest you. 

“ Believe me, my dear Sir, yours very sincerely, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 



To carry out such reductions of public expendi- 
ture as had been determined upon by Sir George 
Barlow and Mr. Tucker, without causing much 
private inconvenience and exciting much personal 
resentment, was clearly an impossibility. These mea- 
sures, indeed, were of a character which, looking 
back at them now, after the lapse of half a century, 
seems to be so steeped in unpopularity, that if they 
had been designed for the express purpose of goading 
into hostility many of the ablest and most influen- 
tial men in the country, could not have achieved 
that object with more entire success. It was not 
only in Lord Lake’s Camp that the utmost indigna- 
tion was excited and the bitterest enmity provoked. 
There was hardly a native Court, with a Residency or 
a Commissionership attached to it, in which a group 
of political officers did not tremble for the security 
of their old gains, whilst the lavish expenditure in 
which they had been wont unquestioned to indulge, 
was now regarded by Government as profligacy, and 
denounced as a crime. From one end of the country 
to the other, sinecurists and monopolists were smitten 
with dismay. There was no longer to be any shelter 
for idleness ; any toleration for extravagance. Every 
man, who drew the money of the State, was to be 
expected to work for it. Two men were no longer 
to be suffered to do the work of one ; nor were places 
to be made, that favored officers might fill them. A 
general war was to be waged against slothfulness 
and corruption of all kinds ; and the licence of un- 
controlled expenditure was thenceforth to be a folly 



of the Past. How such stem resolutions as these 
must have affected vested interests in public extra- 
vagance, it is not difficult to conjecture. 

A few paragraphs from one of Mr. Tucker’s letters, 
written at this time, will illustrate, better than any- 
thing else, the personal bearings of this great question 
of economical reform. “ The expense,” he wrote to 
Sir George Barlow, “ of the foreign Residents, Com- 
missioners, &c., has risen to an amount that will 
astonish you ; but I hear that you have placed them 
all under limitations, and you will not, I am sure, 
make any exceptions. Malcolm’s disbursements are 
very heavy, and I cannot perceive the necessity or 
propriety of allowing ten or a dozen of the public 
servants to support something approaching to a 
royal state. The establishment of the Governor- 
General’s office may, I think, admit of very great 
reduction, for a few good writers, I should suppose, 
would now perform all the duty of it, conducted, as 
I have no doubt it will be henceforward, on a mode- 
rate scale. The voluminous despatches of Lord Wel- 
lesley were a great evil, for they not only caused 
great delay in making very necessary communica- 
tions, but they were not, I believe, read by half a 
dozen individuals. The expense of the College should 
be reduced as much as possible, and all sinecures, 
such as Provosts, Vice-Provosts, &c., should, I think, 
be altogether abolished. Great reductions, I should 
hope, may be made by-and-by in collecting the re- 
venues of the Ceded and Conquered districts ; and 
the Provincial Corps may, perhaps, be dispensed with 


hereafter. The Assistant- Judges, I have hear d T are, 
in most instances, if not everywhere, an unnecessary 
expense. Registers and Assistants mig ht, I think, 
do the duty perfectly well; and the Judges should 
be stimulated to greater activity. Some of these 
extra- Judges, I understand, ridicule the appoint- 
ment as absolutely useless. There have been some 
appointments created of late years (the Superin- 
tendent of Civil buildings, Assay-Master at Benares, 
&c., &c.), which, I should suppose, can scarcely be 
necessary in a time of distress. The Government 
here might revise all such establishments, and strike 
off everything superfluous. We shall not too, I hope, 
have any occasion for establishments on account of 
the Calcutta Militia. The Commercial Residencies 
in Oude appear to me to be absolutely useless — at 
least for the present.” “ A systematic attention to 
economy,” he added, “should be observed through- 
out every branch of the public expenditure. The 
military charge is the great object to be looked to ; 
and even during war much expense may be saved 
by a strict attention to the manner of providing the 
army with stores, provisions, &c., through the public 
agents and contractors.” What a blow is here struck 
at personal interests of all kinds — from those of the 
lazy sinecurist to those of the greedy contractor ! 

If such measures had not been unpopular, our 
Indian officials would have been the most virtuous 
and self-devoted in the world. But they were 
grievously unpopular. Never, perhaps, before or 
after — not even in that second great epoch of econo- 



mical reform, when officers of the Indian army 
evinced their impotent indignation by refusing to 
dine with Lord William Bentinck — has such a flood 
of wrath been poured upon a public functionary as 
now streamed out, primarily against Sir George 
Barlow, and secondarily against Mr. Tucker. There 
are broad marks of this extant in the correspon- 
dence of the period to which I now refer ; but from 
Tradition it maybe gathered that worse things were 
uttered, even at the dinner-tables of great men, 
than any that were ever embodied in written words ; 
though in those days much was recorded which, 
after the unfailing action of time had cooled down 
their individual resentments, the authors would 
have blushed to read. I am not passing judgment 
upon these displays of party and personal hostility. 
The men who were betrayed into them were not 
weaker than their brethren. Such infirmity is com- 
mon to mankind. I only speak of it now, to show 
that the great work of Reform to which Barlow and 
Tucker had devoted themselves, was not one without 
its own peculiar miseries, and that it demanded no 
small amount of moral courage to prosecute it con- 
sistently to the end. Even in these days men may 
question the wisdom and propriety of some of these 
individual acts of reform ; but looking at the aggre- 
gate, it must be admitted that they were necessary. 
Impartial History cannot refuse to pronounce that 
they were honestly and manfully carried out. Bar- 
low and Tucker had not a thought beyond the in- 
terests of the State. The duty which had devolved 



■upon them was as painful as it was onerous ; an d 
they went through it with the sturdy resolution and 
self-negation of honest men. And I believe that if 
their cotemporaries had read, as I have done, all 
the correspondence which passed between these two 
public functionaries at this time, they would, in 
spite of all private inducements to censure and con- 
demn, have regarded with respect the straightfor- 
ward conduct of the Governor-General and his Mi- 
nister of finance. But the exigencies of the occa- 
sion were not appreciated. And the motives of the 
men were not understood. It was natural that in 
such a conjuncture rash judgments should be passed. 
It is the great privilege of Honesty to live them 

In carrying out the details of the measures, which 
little by little, and almost against the fondest hopes 
of their projector, had the effect of restoring some- 
thing like order to our Finances, Mr. Tucker was ne- 
cessarily brought into collision with members of his 
own service, for it was his to stimulate the tardy 
and to reproach the indolent ; and more than one 
revenue-officer at this time received a private hint 
from the Accountant-General, that if a little more 
activity were not displayed in the collections, a pub- 
lic reprimand would be the result of his remissness. 
To one collector he wrote : “You are charged with a 
most important trust ; and much will depend upon 
your energy and activity. I trust, for your sake and 
my own, and for the sake of the public service, that 
you will exert yourself with vigor; for I tell you 
candidly, and from motives of real good-will towards 



you, that if I perceived the least relaxation upon 
your part, it would be my duty to represent it, that 
steps might be taken to give effect to the efforts 
which I have been called upon to make.” To an- 
other he wrote, in the same strain : “ This is a mo- 
ment when the exertions of every public officer may 
be of importance to the service ; and I trust you will 
exert yourself, and pay imm ediate attention to the 
instructions you receive. I know that I have no 
right to urge or recommend anything privately to 
you, or any other public officer; but knowing, as 
you must, that I can be influenced by none but 
a good motive, you will, I am persuaded, take 
what I say in good part ; and be better satisfied 
with my calling your attention to an object of 
importance in a private letter, than if I had ad- 
dressed you in my public capacity.” Other passages 
of a similar tendency might be quoted from Mr. 
Tucker’s correspondence with the revenue-officers 
in the Provinces . “ When I inform you,” he 

wrote to them, “ that every lakh of rupees which 
you remit to the army probably puts an end to a 
monthly expense to an equal amount, you will be 
able to understand my urgency.” This, indeed, 
was not the least distressing of his duties at this 
time ; but he performed it, not only with temper and 
moderation, but with such kindness, that it does not 
appear that the performance, uncompromising as it 
was, entailed much odium upon him. In estimating, 
however, the difficulties of Mr. Tucker’s position, it 
should be borne in mind that he was a younger man, 
and younger in the service, than the majority of 



those whose proceedings he controlled, and whose 
conduct he commented upon ; and that he had just 
been called from the counting-house of a private 
mercantile firm to take these responsibilities upon 

I have said that the resolute measures of Barlow 
and Tucker began in time to develope symptoms ol 
success. As the new year advanced, the financial 
prospects of the country gleamed more cheerfully 
upon them ; the worst difficulties were surmounted ; 
the crisis was passed ; and to the steady action of 
Time might they now look hopefully for the rest. 
They had begun by applying desperate remedies to des- 
perate evils. They had sacrificed the Investment, and 
they had anticipated the Revenue. It was their one 
great pressing object to obtain ready money; for only 
by the action of Cash payments at the outset could 
the great icebergs of difficulty before them effectually 
be melted away. Debt, indeed, was breeding debt so 
rapidly, that, as Mr. Tucker truly said, every unpaid 
lakh of rupees was entailing a monthly cost almost of 
the same amount — practically, something approach- 
ing to an interest of 1200 per cent. Ruinous esta- 
blishments, for all effective purposes quite unneces- 
sary, were being maintained, simply because an em- 
barrassed Government could not discharge their ar- 
rears of pay. Prospective measures of reform were of 
little use so long as there was no money in the Trea- 
sury to give them imm ediate effect. As with indi- 
viduals, so is it with Governments, the impoverished 
and embarrassed cannot afford to retrench. Re- 



trenohment, in most cases, involves prompt pay- 
ment of arrears ; and how is this to be accom- 
plished, if there be no money in the Treasury ? It 
was necessarily, therefore, the first care of our ad- 
ministrators in this great conjuncture of 1805-6 to 
provide ready money for the purposes of the State, 
even at a great prospective sacrifice, for no sacrifice 
could be so great as that involved in the continuance 
of the existing order of things. Cornwallis appro- 
priated to general purposes the money intended for 
the China investment. And his successor reluc- 
tantly consented to measures which were identical 
with a forestalment of the Revenue. The evils of 
such a system were apparent; but such was the 
pressure of the times, that the representations of 
Lake and Malcolm, though every sound financial 
theory might be violated by the forestalment, were 
successful in the end, and an anticipation of the 
Revenue of the "Western Provinces was authorised 
by Sir George Barlow, with the sanction of his 
Financial adviser. “ I am glad,” wrote the latter, 
“ that your arrangements are satisfactory to Lord 
Lake ; but he must not expect us to supply all that 
may be wished, or all that may be wanted. We will 
do all that circumstances may admit of, although 
this, I fear, will fall short of what is required, in 
a lamentable degree, if great and immediate re- 
ductions be not effected. This plan of forestalling 
is somewhat embarrassing ; for it leaves me in some 
doubt with respect to what may be expected from 
the future. Lord Lake is an experienced soldier; 


and he ought to know that it is not very prudent to 
lay waste a country, or even to forage in a country, 
which you have occasion to march through. The 
anticipation of our Revenue is precisely the same 
thing,” — “ although,” added Mr. Tucker, “ I am 
sensible that it may have been entirely justified by 
the urgency of the case.” 

Of course, a grand feature in these, as in all other 
arrangements of embarrassed Governments, was the 
borrowing of money — or, in technical language, the 
opening of a loan. “ I should borrow,” wrote Mal- 
colm* at this time, “two, three, or four crores if 
necessary, and stop every species of investment, in 
the full confidence that I was promoting the in- 
terests of my country.” The stoppage of the In- 
vestment was easy; but the borrowing of the four 
crores whs a matter to be talked of at Muttra rather 
than to be accomplished in Bengal. Money was 
with difficulty to be obtained from the community 
at an interest of ten per cent. The capital, indeed, 

* It is well known that Malcolm’s views were greatly opposed to those 
of Cornwallis and Barlow; but it is an error to suppose that at this time 
his opinions found utterance in bitter or disrespectful words, or that he 
gave practical expression to them by hesitating to carry out their plans of 
financial reform. Of Lord Cornwallis he wrote, in language of emphatic 
admiration, as of “a great and good man, who has continued to the last to 
devote himself to his country.” “Few, if any,” he continued, “have lived 
with such honor; no one ever died with more glory.” Of Sir George Barlow 
he wrote, a month afterwards, “ I am at a loss to express my gratitude for 
the very flattering manner in which he has expressed his approbation of my 
conduct. I shall thank him by my future exertions.” “ I trust,” he con- 
tinued, “ that we shall have the definite treaty signed to-morrow, or next day 
at furthest. I work at that and the reductions as hard as I can. The latter 
will be reported on in a few days. They amount to about two lakhs per 
mensem— and if we can only send Holkar out of the Funjab, or out of the 
world, the whole of this expense will be done away, and many others.” 



of the settlement had been forestalled. There was 
little floating about, seeking public or private in- 
vestment. Upon such a subject there was no better 
authority than Mr. Tucker. “The loan proceeds 
but slowly,” he wrote to Sir George Barlow, in the 
middle of November, “ and I am not now at all 
sanguine that it will succeed to the extent required. 
In fact, there has been so much anticipation of late, 
that there is no disposable capital in the market at 
present, and of this I can form a very good judg- 
ment, from what has been done by our own House. 
We have invested, since the 1st of January last, in 
the public loans, on account of our friends and our- 
selves, about thirty-six lakhs of rupees, and Govern- 
ment, within the same period, have borrowed about 
two crores of rupees. This sum, I think, exceeds 
the annual accumulation of capital at this Presi- 
dency, and a part of it, therefore, must either have 
been on anticipation, or have been drawn from some 
other channel — (from the support of commerce).” 
This seems to be unanswerable. It was easy to talk 
of borrowing money ; but no one had any to lend. 

But money for Immediate necessities was provided 
in the manner above described ; and an opportune 
arrival of bullion from England came to the further 
aid of our financial administrators. In the mean 
while an able and experienced civil officer was 
despatched to the Western Provinces to exercise 
personal superintendence over the monied concerns 
of the Grand Army. Not one of the least of the 
evils which had stared the new Accountant-General 


in the face on his assumption of office, had been the 
extreme confusion of the military accounts. At the 
end of October, 1805, Mr. Tucker was informed by 
the Military Auditor-General that no account had 
been received from the Paymaster to Lord Lake’s 
army, since the month of September, 1801.* So gross 
an evidence of irregularity was fit subject for severe 
animadversion. Mr. Tucker commented forciblyupon 
it ; but that was not a season in which time or energy 
could be advantageously expended in reproaches and 
regrets; so he addressed himself at once to a re- 
medy. “ Considering,” he wrote, “ the great distance 
of the army from the Presidency — the unsettled 
state of everything at present in the new territory — 
the want of experience on the part of those who have 
been recently introduced into the Pay Department 
— and the extensive duty to be performed by the 
public officers here — it appears to me that the super- 
intending Power at the Presidency is not efficient ; 
and that it would be highly desirable to have a 
strong controlling power on the spot, acting under 
your immediate authority and direction. I should 
recommend the appointment of an Auditor and 
Accountant for the Military Department West of Be- 
nares, to continue only until everything is brought 
into order; and this officer should, of course, act 
under the Military Regulations at present in force, 
and report everything regularly to the superintend- 

* “ Even if we had been galloping after Holkar all the time,” wrote Mr. 
Tucker to Sir George Barlow , u a statement might hare been furnished of 
the money transactions which occurred; but during the last six months, 
the Army and the Paymaster have been quietly settled in Cantonments.” 



ing officers at the Presidency, with which he should 
hold direct correspondence.” 

“Everything,” continued Mr. Tucker, “will de- 
pend upon the individual who may be selected for 
such a duty.” He had first thought of Mr. Sherer, 
a young and promising civil officer, who had early 
displayed great aptitude for financial business ; but 
the state of his health at that time seemed to render 
it desirable that his zeal for the public service should 
not then be taxed by the arduous duties of such an 
appointment, and Mr. Tucker therefore made another 
and an equally judicious selection from among his as- 
sociates in the service. “ The man in the whole ser- 
vice,” he wrote to the Governor-General, “ to whom 
I should commit the office with the greatest confi- 
dence of success, is Richardson. He is acquainted 
with the duty of a Paymaster ; and has had a great 
deal of experience in the Revenue and Military 
accounts ; but what is of most importance on this 
occasion is, that he possesses an inflexible firmness 
of mind, which will enable him to go through with 
a very arduous, unpleasant duty. There are few men 
who have zeal and firmness enough to undertake an 
ungracious, invidious duty from disinterested mo- 
tives; but Richardson’s regard for the public in- 
terests, and his friendship for you, would, I am sure, 
stimulate him to make every possible exertion, and 
I really do not know a man from whom I should 

expect so much Should any objection occur to 

this arrangement, I would recommend as an alter- 
native, that Richardson be directed to take charge 


of the office of Paymaster in the Pield, in order that 
he may bring up the accounts which are in arrear, 
and place everything in proper train. This is essen- 
tial, at all events. Richardson will not, I am per- 
suaded, like either duty, for his wishes are all directed 
to the Political Department ; but I am convinced, 
at the same time, that he will be ready to sacrifice 
his own inclination and convenience to promote the 
public service. You will not suspect me of an in- 
terested recommendation on this or any other occa- 
sion ; for I never was a jobber, or indeed a suitor, in 
my life.” 

The arrangement here suggested Avas approved 
by the Governor-General ; and Mr. Richardson AvaS 
despatched to join the Grand Army. Vested Avith 
large powers to supply Lord Lake with necessary 
funds, and to control generally the financial affairs 
of the Army, he executed his appointed task Avith 
all the zeal and ability that Avere expected from 
him ; and the best results attended this important 
innovation upon a defective and disastrous system. 
There had, hitherto, been a grievous Avant of order 
and regularity in the management of the pecuniary 
concerns of the Army; and good management is 
often as serviceable as much thrift. Koaa - , not only 
Avas new vigor infused into the department, but 
there was for the first time effective supervision on 
the spot. The work of the Army, too, was done. 
As the new year dawned upon India, Peace began 
to dawn with it. The Army Avas to be broken up ; 
its arrears were to be paid; and Mr. Richardson 




was there to see that the public money was pro- 
fitably expended. Tor immediate purposes, as I 
have shown, cash had been supplied ; and now the 
whole machinery of Finance was regularly set 
a-going. It needed, indeed, only that a good be- 
ginning should be made — that the difficulty should 
be looked boldly in the face, and that the onward 
progress of extravagance and ruin should be reso- 
lutely arrested. With every new week appeared 
some new symptoms of revival. The accounts from 
the other Presidencies continued to improve. And 
before it was announced in letters from England, 
which took most people by surprise, that Sir George 
Barlow, to whom the succession to the Governor- 
Generalship had been promised, was to be super- 
seded by an English nobleman, the peril was sur- 
mounted; the great work was done.* The energy 
and resolution which had been exhibited at the 
right moment, were attended with results beyond 
the expectations of the most sanguine; and Lord 
Minto entered upon his government with little to 
embarrass his movements, or to perplex his judg- 
ment. That the precipitate abandonment of the 
“great game’’ in the North-West was not pro- 
ductive of after-results both embarrassing and per- 
plexing, I am not prepared to show. I have nothing, 

* On the 28th of August, 1806, Sir G. Barlow recorded a minute, in which 
he says: “The present state of the Finances of the Honorable Company in 
India, together with the several arrangements which Mr. Tucker has sug- 
gested for their improvement, will manifest that the public interests have 
derived very important benefits from his able and zealous exertions in the 
conduct of the business of the department under his immediate super- 



indeed, to do with the solution of that question. 
This is a chapter only in the Financial History of 
India ; a chapter that has never yet been written — 
but one which is most necessary to a right com- 
prehension of the Annals of a most eventful epoch. 
It is not because I am engaged on this Biography 
that I aver, that no History of India can be com- 
plete without a record of these Financial measures, 
or a just tribute to the exertions of Henry St.George 

* The correspondence between Sir George Barlow and Mr. Tucker* in the 
years 1805-6, the whole of which is now before me, is so voluminous, that 
I have been necessitated to reject very much which would have illustrated 
the events narrated in this chapter, and greatly enhanced its historical value. 
This is much to be regretted, because the more minutely it is studied, the 
more impressed will the student be with a conviction both of the necessity of 
the measures and the integrity of the men. 




The Settlement of the Ceded and Conquered Provinces— The Special Com- 
mission of 1807 — Mr. Tucker’s Appointment — His Colleagues — Duties of 
the New Commission— Their Reception in Upper India— Mr. Tucker’s 

Under the administration of Lord Wellesley the 
dominions of the East India Company had been 
greatly extended. The Ceded districts of Oude, and 
the Conquered provinces wrested from the Mali- 
rattas, had so swollen our Eastern Empire as to 
demand a large accession of administrative agency 
and administrative skill. The country which we 
had acquired by our diplomacy and by our arms 
was now to be governed for the benefit of the Com- 
pany and the benefit of the People. A great Re- 
venue was to be raised ; and a great Nation was to 
be protected. Now that the clang of arms no longer 
drowned the counsel of the statesman, it was a 
matter of primal concernment so to settle these 
North-Western Provinces as to render our accession 
of territory advantageous alike to the British Go- 
vernment and the people whom we had subdued. 

Even whilst the measures for the extrication of 
the British-Indian Empire from the financial em- 


barrassments- which threatened to overwhelm it, 
were in progress under the supervision and superin- 
tendence of Barlow and Tucker, this great subject 
of the revenue-settlement of the North-West had 
been under their consideration ; and before the close 
of the year 1805, the Governor-General had written 
to his Finance Minister : “ When you succeed to a 
seat at the Board of Revenue, you must turn your 
mind immediately to the forming of the next set- 
tlement for the Ceded and Conquered Provinces. It 
will require a year or more to collect the necessary 
accounts and information for making the settlement 
properly ; and there is no time to be lost in laying 
the foundations of this important measure.” Sir 
George Barlow knew that in Mr. Tucker he had a 
man to whom he could safely entrust this important 
duty; and his successor saw, with the same clear 
vision, the expediency of availing himself of the 
services of an administrator in whom soundness of 
judgment and energy of action were eminently com- 

In February, 1806, Mr. Tucker had been ap- 
pointed a member of the Board of Revenue. To 
the general subject of Indian taxation, from his 
very boyhood he had devoted much earnest re- 
flection, and the weight of his opinions was acknow- 
ledged by all his official colleagues. From his cor- 
respondence at this period something may be ga- 
thered respecting the light in which he regarded 
the existing mode of raising the necessary revenue. 
The following letter to Captain Baillie, who was 



then in political charge of our new districts in Bun- 
dlekund, glances at so many important questions 
within so small a space, that, before passing on to 
the substantive matter of this chapter, I am tempted 
to insert it here : 


“ Calcutta, 4th October, 1806. 

€i My dear Baillie, — Many thanks for your favor of the 
13th ultimo, and for your early notice of my public application 
to you. The information you have furnished is all very satis- 
factory; but have you not estimated the whole revenue of 1214 
as receivable within the year of account 1806-7 (or before the 
30th of April next), while a proportion of that revenue must 
necessarily fall into the ensuing year? On the presumption 
that this was the case, I have ventured to deviate from your 

“I am very glad to hear that you are so rich in mines and in 
other valuables, and I trust that you will be able to give a good 
account of them. We should not, in my opinion, be in a hurry 
to harass the country with customs, or any other new taxes; and 
I have long considered the abolition of the syer, a tax to which 
the people were familiarised, a very hasty measure. A tax even 
objectionable in principle, when once established and accommo- 
dated to a country, may be much less injurious than a new tax, 
to which the same objection may not apply; and in this country, 
where your inferior officers are so little to be relied upon, all new 
impositions are especially to be avoided. I have no time, how- 
ever, just now for discussing th e principles of taxation. I shall 
be glad always to hear from you, and to receive information on 
all subjects connected directly or indirectly with our public 
duties; and you may rely that I will make the best use of it I 
can. You will not, I hope, be discouraged from continuing 
your communications should I not immediately acknowledge 
them; for I am not always master of my own time — indeed, I 
am seldom master of it. With respect to saltpetre, I have only 


to observe, that if anything cau justify a monopoly, the circum- 
stances which you urge appear to render a direct interference 
on the part of Government highly expedient. I, myself, am a 
decided enemy to commercial restrictions; and I think that a 
great Government ought to engage as little as possible (if at 
all) in commercial transactions, and particularly petty transac- 
tions. I approve of the opium monopoly, because it enables 
us to draw a large revenue from a foreign country; of the 
salt monopoly, because it is a very productive tax, with- 
out being attended with personal oppression, because it is 
paid voluntarily according to the means of the consumer, 
and because I know no other tax equally productive and less 
objectionable which could be substituted for it. In the same 
manner, if a monopoly of saltpetre could be managed without 
oppression and injustice, and could be made conducive to the 
preservation of domestic tranquillity, I shall consider it an ad- 
mirable tax, and it will have my warmest support. 

“Believe me, yours very sincerely, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 

There is no task, indeed, more worthy of the best 
efforts of the philanthropist — no task that demands 
for its due performance a larger amount of adminis- 
trative capacity than the revenue-settlement of a 
new country. It is so great a work, indeed, and 
one that requires a combination of so many rare 
qualities, that it can seldom be entrusted with safety 
to a single man. At all events, Lord Wellesley, 
writing prospectively of the settlement of the coun- 
try on the banks of the Jumna, recorded his opinion 
that such researches as it was necessary to institute 
“ must be entrusted to the best principles and the 
best talents.” “And,” he added, “as the variety 
of talents requisite for a successful prosecution of 
divers inquiries may not often be eminently pos- 


life of h. st.g. tucker. 

sessed by one and the same person, it may perhaps 
he found advisable to select two or three of our 
most intelligent servants to act together in each 
quarter.” These opinions were shared by Sir George 
Barlow; and accordingly, in the month of June, 
1807, a Commission was appointed, charged with 
the important duty of inquiring into the condition of 
the Ceded and Conquered Provinces, and reporting 
upon the system of internal administration best 
adapted to the requirements of the people. 

Mr. Cox* and Mr. Tucker Avere nominated Com- 
missioners. f Mr. Slierer was appointed Secretary 
to the Commission ; Mr. Fortescue, Assistant-Secre- 
tary ; and Mr. Buttenvorth Bayley, Interpreter. 

With the full approbation of his brother-commis- 
sioner, Mr. Tucker, in the first instance, had de- 
signed the Secretaryship for Mr. Charles Metcalfe — 
then a young man of great promise, Avliose high 
qualities were recognised alike by his cotemporaries 
and his seniors in the service. But Metcalfe had 
chalked out for himself a career in another line. 
He had made his election in favor of Political X em- 
ployment; and the predilections, which were first 
generated by early ambition, had been subsequently 
strengthened by the experiences of a stirring life in 

* This gentleman had been Accountant-General prior to Mr. Tucker’s first 
tenure of office ; and subsequently a member of the Board of Revenue. 

f Shortly before this, Sir George Barlow had offered Mr. Tucker the office 
of Head-Commissioner at Madras to inquire into the debts of the Nabob of 
Arcot; but Mr. Tucker was unwilling to quit Bengal, and he declined the 

t The English reader must bear in mind, that in Indian official language 
Political means Diplomatic. 



Lord Lake’s camp. He was unwilling, therefore, to 
connect himself, in so decisive a manner, with the 
Revenue branch of the Administration ; and he 
would probably have declined the offer if it had 
been formally made to him by Government. But 
he thoroughly appreciated the compliment, and he 
wrote to his friend Mr. Slxerer, on whom the ap- 
pointment was subsequently conferred, explaining 
the grounds of his disinclination to accept it. “ By- 
the-by,” he wrote, “ Tucker will doubtless have 
mentioned to you what I read in a letter from him 
to Richardson, that at first, with the assent of Cox, 
he had proposed to Sir George Barlow, through 
Lumsden, my appointment as Secretary to the Com- 
mission. Of course, at that time, he could not 
have expected that the Secretary’s office would be 
put on so respectable a footing. lie could have had 
no idea that the Government would spare you, 
Bayley, and Fortescue ; otherwise he would never, 
it is clear, have thought of me. I will tell you the 
effect that this had on my mind, when Richardson 
sent me Tucker’s letter — I must observe that Tucker 
wrote just after Lumsden left him to carry the pro- 
position to the Governor, and therefore could give 
no hint of the result — I was of course flattered by 
the circumstance, and obliged to Tucker ; but I 
wished that he had not made the proposal, and I 
did not like the thought of getting so deep into the 
Revenue line and so far from the Political. I did 
not know which I should do, if any reference were 
made to me, as on the one hand to give up a 



favorite line, and on the other, to reject So respect- 
able a situation, likely to be attended with consi- 
derable advantages, would be, either way, difficult. 
My hope was that Government, without any re- 
ference to me, would make its own arrangement, 
excluding me, and so relieve me from the responsi- 
bility of guiding my own destiny. The sight of 
your appointment was the first, and is the only in- 
telligence which I have yet received ; and, besides 
the pleasure of seeing your appointment to a post 
which I thought would be pleasing to you, I felt on 
my own account great relief. Although I am 
obliged to Tucker for thinking of me, I am glad, on 
many accounts, that the present capital arrange- 
ment has taken place.” After the lapse of more 
than a quarter of a century it again fell to the lot 
of Henry St. George Tucker to recommend Charles 
Metcalfe for a situation. As Chairman of the East 
India Company he recommended him for the situa- 
tion of Governor-General of India. 

On the 25th of June Mr. Tucker quitted Cal- 
cutta, on his journey to the Upper Provinces. The 
appointment possessed peculiar advantages, which 
he well knew how to appreciate, and he quitted the 
Presidency in high health and spirits. A little 
before his departure he wrote to his sister, speaking 
of the prospects before him, and showing the cheer- 
ful temper with which he regarded them : 

“ Calcutta , June 15, 1807. — In the midst of bustle and prepa- 
ration for a long journey, I must still write you a line to assure 
you that I am perfectly well, and as happy as I can reasonably 



expect to be in a life which admits not, I believe, of perfect 
happiness. I set off in the course of ten days on a deputation 
to the Western Provinces, for the purpose of superintending 
the settlement of our new territory. The duty will be trouble- 
some and laborious, as we shall have an immense tract of 
country to put into order; but the appointment is most re- 
spectable, and as I am accustomed to labor, as our party 
(consisting of some of my most intimate friends) will be a very 
pleasant one, and we shall have to travel over the finest 
country in India, I am quite reconciled to the expedition; in- 
deed, I am more than reconciled — I am quite pleased at the 
idea of penetrating to the very sources of the sacred Ganges, 
and of picking strawberries on hills which are familiar with 
ice and snow. This would be no novelty to you; but it will 
be a very great one to me, who have not seen a strawberry- 
bush for one-and-twenty years. I shall be employed on this 
duty, probably, for eighteen months or two years; and on my 
return to Calcutta I shall be thinking cf proceeding home- 
wards, to pass the remaining years which fate may have al- 
lotted to me, in retirement and tranquillity. At least, I hope 
that I may be permitted to enjoy both, after having devoted 
so many years to severe and incessant labor. My fortune by 
that time will be equal to all my wishes, which are moderate 
enough. I have already, indeed, an independence, sufficient 
to enable me to retire at any time; but it is as well to have 
something more than enough, and on this idea I shall remain 
in India two years longer. In January or February, 1810 , 
Heaven willing ! I shall bid adieu to India for ever; and, in the 
ordinary course of events, I may expect to have the happiness 
of seeing you all in about three years from the present time. 
It is a long period to look forward to, I own; and after so 
many disappointments, I ought not to be sanguine in my ex- 
pectations; but I will flatter myself that there is some happi- 
ness in store for me, and that I shall at last reach the haven to 
which I have so long and so anxiously directed my course. 

“ Say everything kind and affectionate for me to our respected 
parents; for, unless the packet be detained, I shall not be able 
to write to them.” 



The circumstances under which this important 
Commission was appointed, were many years after- 
wards thus detailed by Mr. Tucker himself. “ In 
1803,” he said, “ during the administration of Mar- 
quis Wellesley, a Regulation was passed (XXV. of 
that year), declaring, that a permanent settlement 
of the Ceded Provinces would be concluded at the 
end of ten years, for such lands as should be in 
a sufficiently improved state of cultivation ; and fur- 
ther proclaiming the ‘ proprietary rights of all Ze- 
mindars, Talookdars, and other descriptions of land- 
holders possessing a right of property in the lands, 
composing their zemindarries, talooks, or other 
tenures, to be confirmed and established under the 
authority of the British Government, in conformity 
to the laws and usages of the country, and to the 
regulations which have been, or shall be hereafter 
enacted by the Governor-General in Council.’ It 
was also provided by the same Regulation, that 
those Zemindars who might decline to enter into 
engagements for their lands, should be allowed 
‘ Xankar’ not exceeding ten per cent, on the Jumma 
of their estates. In 1805, a Regulation (IX. of 
that year) was passed by the same Government in 
nearly corresponding terms ; declaring that a per- 
manent settlement would be concluded with the 
Zemindars and other landholders in the Conquered 
Provinces, at the expiration of the decennial leases. 
But in 1807, the Supreme Government being anx- 
ious to extend to the landowners of our newly-ac- 
quired territory those advantages which had been 


conferred on the Zemindars of the Lower Provinces, 
by fixing the land-tax in perpetuity, Regulation X. 
of that year was enacted, appointing Commissioners 
for superintending the settlement of the Ceded and 
Conquered Provinces ; and notifying ‘ to the Zemin- 
dars and other actual proprietors of land in those 
provinces, that the Jumma which may be assessed 
on their estates in the last year of the settlement 
immediately ensuing the present settlement, shall 
remain fixed for ever, in case the Zemindars shall 
now be willing to engage for the payment of the 
public revenue on those terms in perpetuity, and 
the arrangement shall receive the sanction of the 
Honorable Court of Directors.” 

That it was the intention of Lord Wellesley, of 
Sir George Barlow, and Lord Minto, to introduce 
the Permanent Settlement into the Ceded and Con- 
quered Provinces, is not to be doubted. It is 
equally a fact that the Commission which was 
despatched to Upper India in 1807 was instructed 
to adopt measures for the furtherance of its intro- 
duction. There were few more consistent supporters 
of the Permanent Zemindarry Settlement than Mr. 
Tucker. But he did not at that time conceive that 
our newly-acquired territory was ripe for such an 
adjustment of the landed revenue. He believed that 
our information was deficient; and that great in- 
justice would be the result of the precipitate intro- 
duction of a system, the very name of which implied 
a necessity for the extremest caution and the most 
elaborate preparation. Such a settlement ought 



ever to be based upon a careful ascertainment of 
existing rights — and how could these rights be 
ascertained in a day ? So reasoned Mr. Tucker and 
his associates; and the further they advanced in 
their inquiries, the more apparent it was that it 
was their duty to promise a Permanent Settlement 
to the landholders — not immediately to declare it as 
the law of the land.* 

So they went on from Station to Station, gather- 
ing information as they went — seeking the opinion 
of all the principal revenue-officers on their line of 
route ; and not confining themselves (for indeed the 
objects of the Commission were not solely of a fiscal 
character) to inquiries respecting the landed tenures 
or the general taxation of the country. Whatever 
related to the prosperity of the country and the pro- 
tection of the people, came within their sphere of 
observation — Judicial and Police establishments, 
Public works and other great agencies for the ame- 
lioration alike of the moral and physical condition 
of the inhabitants — races of men then believed to 

* Very many years afterwards, Mr. Tucker, referring to this period of his 
early history, placed on record a clear exposition’of his course of conduct as a 
member of the Commission. “ I was appointed in 1807,” he wrote, “ to carry 
into execution a measure which successive administrations had considered to 
be essential to the prosperity of the country. Although concurring most 
unreservedly in the opinion that it was wise and salutary, and that it con- 
tained a vital principle, which must in the end work out all the good anti- 
cipated, I ventured to counsel delay, upon the ground that we were not at 
the moment in a state of preparation to consummate so great an undertaking; 
but it never occurred to nay mind that the principle of the measure was to 
be abandoned, or that the landholders, who had received from us the most 
solemn pledge given in the most authentic form, were to be denied for ever 
the promised benefit, and that in the end they were to be cast aside as a mere 
encumbrance on the earth. That pledge can never l>e effaced, although it 
remains unfulfilled.” 


be “ unaccustomed to any regular system of order 
or law, and habituated to commit the utmost ex- 
cesses of violence and oppression” — came within 
their scope, and ware duly included in their official 

The trade of the Provinces — the reform of the 
Customs — the superintendence of the Mint and 
Coinage — were matters, also, to which they were in- 
structed to address themselves — and it would have 
been difficult to find in the whole range of the ser- 
vice a little cluster of men so eminently qualified, 
alike by their peculiar antecedents and their pecu- 
liar abilities, to carry out the intentions of the 
Government which appointed them. 

Mr. Cox and Mr. Tucker,* it need not be said, 
had both been Accountant-General. Mr. Sherer 
had been Deputy-Accountant-General and Civil- 
Auditor. He owed his advancement, in no small 
measure, to Mr. Tucker, under whom, indeed, as he 
delighted to acknowledge, he had graduated as a 
Financier. It was mainly the circumstance of the 
Commission having been instructed to inquire into 
the Commerce and the Coinage of Upper India that 
induced him to accept the Secretaryship. Mr. 
Tucker had mentioned to him that he had recom- 
mended Metcalfe for the office, and subsequently, 
since that appointment could not take place (for 
reasons known neither to Sherer nor to Metcalfe), 
mentioned to him the name of another officer who 

* Mr. Tucker, it should be said, was the working Commissioner. He did 
all the more active part of the business ; and drew up the reports. 



had applied for the situation. It was admitted 
that the applicant had no peculiar qualifications for 
such an office. “ But,” said Mr. Tucker, “ it does 
not much matter. He is a quiet, gentlemanlike 
man ; and as to business, I shall work hard myself. 
With Metcalfe, indeed, it would have been a dif- 
ferent thing. He might relieve me of a great deal of 
trouble, and be of essential service to me.” Nothing 
more took place at the time. “ But, a few days 
afterwards,” wrote Mr. Sherer, “we were again 
conversing on the general object of this Commission, 
when I found that it was by no means to be limited 
to the settlement of the Land-Revenue, but was 
meant to embrace an inquiry into the Trade of the 
Provinces, a reform of the Customs, a superinten- 
dence of the Mint and Coinage, &c., &c. Now, 
having been for some months a member of the Mint 
Committee at Calcutta, the subject of coinage had 
occupied a good deal of my attention, and I began 
to fancy that I knew something about it. I had 
also had a good deal of talk with Tucker of late on 
the subject of Trade, and become very anxious to 
possess the means of acquiring some practical know- 
ledge of a subject so intimately connected with my 
profession. I had hoped to get some little insight 
into the various modes of employing commercial 
capital in this country by my situation in the Bank, 
but had been disappointed. This conversation, 
therefore, had peculiar charms for me, and in the 
course of it so many things occurred to fire my 
imagination and excite a desire to go with the Com- 


mission, that I at length burst into an exclamation 
to that effect. The wish was no sooner formed than 
I was ready for its accomplishment. Tucker thought 
it feasible ; and recommended me to apply directly to 
Sir George Barlow.” And so the application was 
made, and it was granted — but grudgingly by the 
Governor-General; for Sherer’s services could not 
well be spared from the Department to which he 
belonged. The flattering hesitation was overcome ; 
and the Civil- Auditor, still retaining his appoint- 
ment at the Presidency, joined the Commission, to 
the great satisfaction of all who were attached to it. 
He was a very able and a very amiable man ; some- 
thing, perhaps, of an enthusiast, but always in the 
right direction ; and it is not a little to bis honor 
that he was the cherished friend of three such men 
as Charles Metcalfe, Butterwortk Bayley, and Henry 
St.George Tucker. 

The hospitality of the English residents, all along 
their route, was most cordially extended to them. 
The first part of the journey had been performed by 
Avater. They had proceeded up the river as far as 
Eurruckabad, halting at the principal stations on 
the way. “You will be glad,” wrote one of the 
party, at the end of August, “ to hear that we have 
been well received at every station we have stopped 
at. At Benares, Tucker spent a week in Mr. 
Brooke’s family, and, indeed, was detained there so 
long by the solicitude shown by every one to enter- 
tain us. We have had a sad, tedious time of it 
since we left Benares (on the 2nd of August) — the 




wind having been so high and adverse, and the 
stream so uncommonly rapid, that we have been 
creeping on at the rate of a few coss a day only. 
To Benares we had been fortunate enough, for we 
left Calcutta on the 29th of June, and arrived there 
on the 27th of July, after stopping to see everything 
worth seeing on the way up. We shall disembark, 
I believe, at Furruckabad, and after doing what we 
may have to do there with the Mint, shall proceed 
to Bareilly, thence to Mooradabad, Saharunpore, 
and so down by the way of Delhi to Alighur and 
Agra.” A few days afterwards, Mr. Tucker himself 
wrote, in one of his letters to England, similar com- 
plaints of the tediousness of the journey : “We have 
had a tedious and unpleasant journey, and the^heat 
has been excessive. We shall, however, I hope, get 
to the end of it in ten or twelve days (at least the 
water-part of our expedition), and we flatter our- 
selves that the pleasure of travelling by land in a 
fine season will compensate for all the inconveniences 
of travelling by water at a very unfavorable one. 
This is the usual course of life. We go on to the 
conclusion of it, expecting always that the Future 

will make amends for the Past B 

will tell you that I talk of paying you a visit; 
and if I were not in so respectable a situation, I 
should think seriously of it. This circumstance, 
and some little difficulties which at present oppose 
my wishes, will probably detain me in the country 
two or three years longer ; but my expatriation can- 
not exceed that period. In the society of my family, 



I hope to enjoy a few years of tranquillity and com- 
fort, after a life which has had little to distinguish 
it hut a succession of toilsome and uneasy struggles.” 
It is no small proof that the wearisomeness of the 
river-voyage, the inactive life, and the incessant 
heat, had greatly affected both his health and his 
spirits, that one of so eminently cheerful a disposition 
should write in such a strain as this. 

But the river-journey accomplished — the hot sea- 
son passed — and the little party once fairly launched 
upon the scene of their labors, the unusual depres- 
sion of spirits under which Mr. Tucker had suffered 
in his boat, was very soon dissipated by the pleasing 
excitement of a new life in a new country. Many 
objects of extreme interest presented themselves to 
the members of the Commission at every stage. 
Nature and Art revealed to them beauties unknown, 
almost unimagined, by those who had hitherto been 
familiar only with the comparative insipidity of the 
plains of Bengal and Behar. The majestic scenery 
of Upper India, and the stately architectural monu- 
ments of the Moguls, appealed irresistibly to the 
sensitive temperaments of more than one of these 
accomplished travellers. Mr. Tucker used to relate 
how the exquisite beauty of the Taj of Agra affected 
Sherer to such a degree, that he prostrated himself 
before it and kissed the ground in an ecstasy of 
delight; and long years afterwards, when Indian 
pilgrimages were no more than dim recollections of 
the Past, though the old enthusiasm was not yet 
quenched within him, the sometime Secretary wrote 

Q 2 



to Mr. Tucker, reminding him of those “ light-hearted 
days.” “ The beautiful and sublime scenery of North 
Wales,” said Mr. Sherer, “ is, indeed, truly enchant- 
ing ; and my occasional rambles on the mountains 
recall to my mind those light-hearted days, when, 
as your unworthy Secretary, I was so delighted 
with the hills and scenery still more sublime at 

But they had other work than this to occupy their 
minds and to exercise their bodies — the strenuous 
realities of the new Co mmi ssion. And they set 
about it with becoming zeal. It soon, however, be- 
came evident to them that they would “ not be able 
to superintend the formation of the settlement in 
person throughout the several districts of the Ceded 
and Conquered Territory.” “ It was scarcely pos- 
sible to traverse this extensive country within the 
season which admits of travelling in tents; while, 
to form the assessment on the spot, and to obtain 
engagements from the numerous Malguzars, several 
months must have been dedicated to the business of 
a single district. It became necessary, therefore, to 
commit the execution of this duty to the local 
officers, and for the Commissioners to direct their 
attention to those general objects on which they 
could hope to employ themselves with more effect.”* 

Having thus wisely resolved not to attempt what 
was plainly impossible, by entering into minute 
details which would have embarrassed their opera- 
tions and rendered the result of the Commission a 

* Beport of the Board of Commissioners in the Ceded and Conquered Pro- 
vinces, dated April 13, 1808. 



mere nullity, they set about the possibilities before 
them with all earnestness and activity, and relied 
upon the local officers for the local information they 
required. They took, as it were from a tower of 
observation, an extended view of the country which 
lay stretched beneath them, and they garnered up 
a great store of general truths of the most ser- 
viceable kind. It would not have been possible for 
them to have carried to their work fewer prejudices 
and foregone conclusions — to have entered upon it 
in a more enlarged spirit of toleration, or with a 
more genuine desire to turn their opportunities to 
the best account for the benefit of the people. They 
were not mere system-mongers. They did not go 
there to skim the surface of the country on a plea- 
sure-progress, and then to declare that the people 
wanted nothing but British rule to make them 
happy and prosperous. They saw, and they ad- 
mitted, that there had been some good things even 
in Mogul government, and they did not deny that 
there might be, in spite of all our kind professions 
and our good intentions, some evils in the change 
of sovereignty which we had inflicted upon them. 
Convinced, too, as they were, of the benefits which 
had been conferred upon Bengal by the Regulations 
of 1793, they were by no means prepared to pre- 
scribe them as a panacea for all the maladies of 
Upper India. They saw that they had to deal with 
a different race of men, and that different institu- 
tions were existing among them. They saw that 
there were conflicting claims to be reconciled, and 
that, nnv undue eawmece +n veenomiso the rights 



of one class might be attended with injustice to 
another. They went about, therefore, seeking in- 
formation; not merely from our own local officers 
and their native subordinates, but from the people 
themselves, high and low — from the great land- 
holder to the petty cultivator; and the more they 
acquired, the more convinced they were that they 
had much more to acquire, and the more clearly they 
saw the necessity of much caution and longer delay. 

And, therefore, they counselled delay. But it was 
not done without reluctance — reluctance, which 
had they seen far into the future, and anticipated 
the eventual results of the postponement, would 
have been even stronger than it was. “ When we 
reflect,” they said, “ that the miseries of famine 
have, perhaps, been arrested in Bengal, by the la- 
mented patriot who gave the Permanent Settlement 
to that country, we feel the utmost repugnance at 
the idea of opposing its extension to our new pos- 
sessions. But Bengal is different in many particu- 
lars. The land is more easily cultivated, and is fer- 
tilised by a periodical inundation; water is easily 
procured. Wells, reservoirs, and aqueducts are un- 
necessary ; and a large capital is seldom required 
for agricultural purposes. The inferior landholders, 
and even the peasantry, can carry on the cultivation 
of their lands without those aids which must be 
furnished to secure the prosperity of the Western 
Provinces. But above all, we were in every respect 
better prepared in Bengal to undertake a measure, 
which at a future period we shall gladly see ex- 
tended to the rest of our possessions.” 


It is not to be doubted that there is wisdom in 
this. But the “ future period” at which the Perma- 
nent Settlement was to be extended to the North- 
Western Provinces, Mr. Tucker never lived to see. 
It was his recommendation on the part of the Com- 
mission, “that the Permanent Settlement in the 
Ceded and Conquered districts be for the present 
postponed” — “that the ensuing settlement be con- 
cluded for a period of four years ; and that during 
the interval a reference be made to the Court of 
Directors, for the purpose of obtaining their au- 
thority for the formation of a Permanent Settle- 
ment unconditionally at a future period — that during 
the same interval, the attention of the public offi- 
cers be particularly directed to the important duty 
of collecting materials which may form the basis of 
a fixed assessment ; and with this view the Collec- 
tors who have distinguished themselves by their 
successful exertions in the Ceded and Conquered 
Provinces, be continued in their present situations, 
and be remunerated by larger allowances, rather 
than by promotion to higher offices.” 

It is beyond the scope of this work to enter 
largely into the history of the landed Revenue of 
India, or even that particular branch of the subject, 
which is known as the Settlement of the North- 
Western Provinces. But before closing this notice 
of Mr. Tucker’s connexion with the Commission of 
1807, it may be mentioned that the report which he 
drew up, in the early part of the following year, 
was less pleasing to the Supreme Government than 
it was to the Court of Directors. “Allowing,” 



wrote the former, “ to Mr. Cox and to Mr. Tucker 
all possible credit for the motives by which they 
were influenced in the discussion of the subject, 
and for the ability with which they have treated 
it, their report has not occasioned any alteration 
in the sentiments which we before entertained 
with respect to the immediate establishment of 
a Permanent Settlement in the Ceded and Con- 
quered Provinces.” But the latter subscribed to the 
opinions of the Co mmi ssioners. The delay was 
granted. Further information was sought. As 
time advanced, the policy of the proposed measure 
was freely canvassed. A strong party grew up in 
the India House opposed to all permanent settle- 
ments ; and at last the project of their extension 
to the North-Western Provinces was shelved. The 
result of much inquiry and much discussion was, 
after all, a system of long leases, upon which the 
Revenue administration of Upper India is now 
based. But Mr. Tucker never ceased to declare that 
this was a fatal error, and that the British Govern- 
ment had been guilty of a gross breach of faith in 
refusing to fulfil the pledges which doubtless it had 
authoritatively made to the people.* 

* The experiences gained by Mr. Tucker, during this tour, were often 
spoken of by him in after-years ; and he delighted to dwell on the circum- 
stances attending it One characteristic illustration of this may be given here. 
Moving through the country, not with the lavish magnificence, or as it was 
commonly called the “ great style,” which had characterised all the official 
movements of Lord Wellesley’s administration, but still with a prestige of 
authority around them, the Commissioners were everywhere regarded with 
curiosity and received with respect ; and small as was their camp, and incon- 
siderable as was the cortege that attended them, Mr. Tucker was not with- 
out considerable apprehension that his followers still harassed the people 



of the Tillages through which he passed by unauthorised exactions in his 
name. Very many years afterwards, when Chairman of the East India 
Company, and writing on the subject of Governors* Visitation-Tours, he 
spoke of the unauthorised exactions of the followers of men in authority, 
and thus alluded to the circumstances of his progress through the North- 
Western Provinces : — “ I believe I may say that no person could be more 
unwilling than myself to countenance or permit oppression or injustice ; but 
I am far from being satisfied that much wrong may not have been com- 
mitted in my name, when I made a tour of the Western Provinces just forty 
years ago. Our camp did not, I believe, with our escort, exceed 400 or 500 
men ; but this cortege, moderate as it was, when compared with a Vice-Kegal 
movement, was large enough to levy contributions from the country. I made 
an example of two of my servants at an early period ; but I am not sure 
that their successors were more trustworthy.’* 




Mr. Tucker’s Resignation of the Commissionership — His Return to Calcutta — 
Letters to his Family — Projected Visit to England — Appointment to the 
Secretaryship in the Public Department— Death of his Father ; of his two 
Brothers — Letters to his Sister and Mother— Embarkation for England — 
Public Testimonials. 

But advantageous as in many respects was Mr. 
Tucker’s situation at this time, and pleasant as were 
all its social environments, it had one very heavy 
drawback. He found that the climate of the Upper 
Provinces was detrimental to his health. That 
Upper India is more salubrious than the low steamy 
plains of Bengal, is a fact that all experience verifies. 
But the Commissioners had started at too early a 
season; and Mr. Tucker had left behind him his 
spacious residence in the City of Palaces for the op- 
pressive confinement of the Budgerow and the 
Palanquin. If he had started in November the 
result would have been different. But starting, as 
the Commissioners did, in June, the fiery climate of 
Upper India seems to have done its work upon 
them. Before the end of the year — 1807 — Mr. Cox 
had quitted the Commission ; and early in the fol- 
lowing year Mr. Tucker forwarded an application 



to Government for leave to be absent from bis office 
for tbe space of three or four months, intimating, 
at the same time, that if his request were denied, 
he must solicit to be relieved from his appoint- 

The permission which he sought was refused. 
Lord Minto’s official answer was a courteous denial. 
In the public letter which was returned, Mr. 
Tucker’s claims “ to consideration, from his talents, 
knowledge, and services,” were fully recognised; 
but Government at the same time expressed its 
“regret that any circumstances should be in the 
way to prevent compliance with his request, or that 
anything should have arisen to deprive Government 
of his services in the settlement of the Provinces ; 
but as his request could not be granted without the 
most serious inconvenience, his appointment was 

So Mr. Tucker returned to Calcutta — much sus- 
tained by the thought of a speedy visit to England. 
“ I came down to Calcutta,” he wrote to his sister 
at the latter end of April, “ almost determined to 
go to England. The heat of the Western Pro- 
vinces I could not bear ; and I am sufficiently tired 
of the country altogether. The favorable season, 
however, has passed away ; and I fancy I must re- 
main here some time longer. Do not be surprised, 
however, if I should suddenly make my appearance 
among you, some ‘ beau matin.’ I am still in doubt 
whether I shall not take my passage with Captain 
Marshall in the Diana , which will sail a month or 



two hence. There are so many objections, however, 
that I feel a difficulty in deciding. My fortune is 
very moderate ; it is not yet at my own command ; 
and to render it equal to all my occasions, I ought 
to remain in the country two or three years longer. 
I shall consider a little longer, and decide ulti- 
mately, I hope, for the best.” 

He considered, and he decided. He considered all 
the bearings of the case, and he decided not to re- 
turn to England. The sacrifice of his heart’s de- 
sires was great. He had been, for some years, in- 
tent upon the thought of a speedy return to Eng- 
land, and he had buoyed himself up with the belief 
that this great object would he accomplished. But 
he was not a man to think only of himself. There 
were others whose happiness he might increase by 
protracting the period of his exile. The Governor- 
General had held out to him an assurance of honor- 
able employment ;* and little as he cared, for his 
own sake, to increase his worldly store, he thought 
that for the sake of others it behoved him to make 
further sacrifice of his ease and pleasure. So, in 
September, he wrote to his friends in England : “ I 
cannot immediately leave the country without in- 
jury to my affairs ; and I am afraid that I ought 

* In the letter quoted above, Mr. Tucker says: “Lord Minto has treated 
me with great personal kindness and attention ; and although my present 
appointment is barren of all profit, I am persuaded that I shall obtain from 
him everything I can expect or wish, the moment an opportunity occurs of 
providing for me better. Whether it is worth while to wait is the question 
which I find it so difficult to decide.” The barren appointment to which 
allusion is here made was that of a supernumerary member of the Board 
of Revenue. 



not to leave it for a year or two to come. Lord 
Minto lias held out to me every possible induce- 
ment to remain here; and although I am most 
anxious to return to England as soon as possible, 
the regard which is due to others will perhaps deter- 
mine me to remain in India a couple of years longer. 
My circumstances are so circumscribed that it will 
not be in my power to assist all the many members 
of our numerous family who require assistance; 
and to see them distressed without the power of 
assisting them would be distressing to myself. If 
the Secretary, Mr. Brown, should go home. Lord 
Minto has promised me the succession; and the 
situation is so respectable, and the allowances are 
so handsome, that I fear I should have cause to 
reproach myself hereafter if I neglected such an 
opportunity of improving my fortune. It may in- 
duce me to stay a year or two longer in the country ; 
but nothing else can, I think, delay my departure 
after the month of February.” 

In December, he wrote again to his sister on the 
same subject. A little while before, he had received 
the sad tidings of the death of his excellent father,* 
whom he had not seen face to face since his early 
boyhood in Bermuda ; but the recollection of whom 
he had cherished with the greatest fondness, and 
to the happiness of whose declining years he had 
earnestly longed to contribute from his own abun- 
dance. The blow smote him to the heart. It had, in 

* On the 3rd of February, 1808, in the 66th year of his age. 



all his thoughts of home, and all his communings 
with his family, been a sustaining reflection, that 
“ the old man of whom ye spake he is yet amongst 
you,” and now those grey hairs had gone down to 
the grave. None but the wifeless and the childless, 
who have toiled on through weary years of exile, 
solaced and supported by the thought of paying 
back for the parental tenderness of old the meet 
reward of filial devotion, can know the full extent of 
such an affliction as this. How deeply Mr. Tucker 
felt the blow may be gathered from his letters to his 
sister : 

44 Calcutta , 22 nd Sept., 1808. — I did not receive any letter 
from you, my dearest sister, by the April Fleet ; but I can 
easily conceive the grief which afflicted your heart, and how 
painful it must have been to you to write under such circum- 
stances. I feel it myself at the present moment ; but still, I 
should be wanting in what I owe you, if I allowed my own 
feelings to operate on such an occasion. Before this letter can 
reach you, the sharp sense of this severe affliction will, I trust, 
have been weakened. In my mind the impression is still fresh ; 
and it is a misfortune which I must ever feel and deplore. Let 
me not, however, renew in your heart feelings which I hope 
are already less poignant. Time soothes the most bitter 
sorrows, or nature must sink under the afflictions to which we 
are exposed. Take care of our poor afflicted mother, and 
alleviate her grief as far as possible. Would that it were per- 
mitted me to assist in offering her consolation ! ” 

44 Calcutta , 17 th Dec., 1808. — I wrote to you under date 
the 22nd Sept., by the Preston ; and I believe I gave you 
reason to expect that about this time I should be embarking 
for England. I had so determined; but we can never be cer- 
tain of what is to happen, even at the distance of a few hours. 
I had taken my passage in the William Pitt , with my friends 
the Fendalls, and was fully resolved to bid adieu to this 

appointment to the secretaryship. 239 

country, in which I have passed so large a portion of my life. 
I had scarcely made my arrangements, when the Secretary, 
Mr. Brown, determined to go home; and as Lord Mintohad 
previously tendered me the office should it become vacant, and 
it is a situation in every respect desirable, I felt myself under 
a sort of obligation to abandon my design, and to reconcile 
myself to a further residence in this country. You will believe 
that I did not give up the hope of seeing you again, without a 
poignant regret. At this moment, I am scarcely satisfied with 
the change; but whatever is, is right. At least, I will hope so; 
although I have had sometimes difficulty enough to reconcile 
the maxim. 

“I propose to remain here a couple of years longer; and, 
much as I feel the unpleasant parts of this arrangement, 
I cannot conceal from myself that it is likely to be 
attended with some advantage. I should have found my- 
self probably much cramped in my circumstances, had I 
left India immediately, and should, I doubt not, have been 
compelled to return to it. This will not, I trust, be the case, 
if I remain here a year or two longer; but I have been so 
often disappointed in my hopes, that I will no longer speculate 
upon a distant future. Two years constitute an age; and I 
must learn to bound my prospects. I will hope to enjoy the 
happiness of seeing my family once more, without pretending 
to trace out projects which may never be realised. Our des- 
tiny is not in our own hands. 

“ I have already written to friend B ; and shall of 

course not neglect to write to our poor afflicted mother. Con- 
sole her, dearest N , and receive consolation for the afflic- 

tions of your own heart. Mine has been smote, until it has 
almost lost the sense of feeling.” 

At the commencement of the new year — 1809 — : 
Mr. Tucker took charge of the office of Secretary in 
the Public Department. “ I have taken charge of 
my new office of Secretary/’ he wrote, “ at the busiest 
time (the despatch of a large Fleet), and LordMinto 



having requested me also to continue to officiate as a 
member of the Board of Revenue, in the absence of 
two of the members, I have really my hands full.” 

He was now, indeed, in harness again; and the 
old subject of Finance was once more occupying 
many of his official hours. It must have been with 
satisfaction, not without alloy, that he now regarded 
the state of the public accounts. There was now no 
want of money in the Treasury ; and it was to be 
borrowed from the community at an interest of six 
per cent. “ I shall be happy,” wrote Lord Minto 
from Madras, where the disturbances in the Coast 
Army had taken him, “ to find the reduction of in- 
terest to six per cent, practicable and advisable ; and 
I should conceive it possible to force a loan even on 
those terms, with an overflowing Treasury such as 
we now have, and without any immediate appre- 
hension of events that would require a large ex- 
penditure.” So far, this was satisfactory. That 
for which Mr. Tucker had so long striven had now 
been fairly accomplished ; but a new source of alarm 
now began to present itself to the Indian Financier. 
In the month of August the Bengal Government 
had sent home a long and elaborate Financial letter, 
written with all that clearness and force which dis- 
tinguished from first to last Mr. Tucker’s official 
•papers, in which it was stated that “ the rate of 
Indian interest having of late approximated more 
nearly to the standard of English interest, the capi- 
talist has no longer the same motive for retaining 
his funds in India ; and even if the security be sup- 



posed equal, the charges of agency, the risk of dis- 
appointment, and other circumstances, will probably 
deter the public creditor from leaving his property 
at a distance from his own immediate control, when 
the advantage to be obtained is no longer con- 
siderable.” At that time four-fifths of the Public 
Securities were in the hands of European creditors. 
Fortunes were more rapidly acquired than in these 
days; the period of Indian service was generally 
shorter; and such was the difficulty and uncer- 
tainty of communication between the two countries, 
that the English creditor was naturally anxious to 
carry home his property with him, even if he had not 
been moved thereto by the unsettled state of Europe, 
and a vague alarm of Indian invasion ; so that there 
Avas an apprehension of a large amount of the Debt 
being speedily transferred to England. “ It is to be 
apprehended,” continued the Einance-letter quoted 
above, “that many of those who have deposited 
their Government Securities in the Treasury, as well 
as those who have left their property in the hands 
of private agents, will order a large proportion of it 
to be remitted to England at an early period. In- 
dividuals, also, who are returning to Eng land, and 
even some of those who are still resident in the 
country, may be expected to remit at least a part of 
their Funds.” The unlimited power of remittance 
through the Government Treasury was found, in- 
deed, in the existing state of things, to be a serious 
evil. There was the greatest difficulty in effecting 
remittances through the channel of Commerce; and 



it appeared that so long as the Company’s Treasury 
afforded such facilities for the remittance not only 
of the interest, but of the principal of the Debt to 
England, there would be little money available in 
India at a low rate of interest. “ I do not think,” 
wrote Lord Minto to Mr. Tucker, “ any money will 
he left in India at six per cent., which can find its 
way to England, excepting the Native property. 
But the remittance of money to England otherwise 
than by Bills on the Court of Directors, will occa- 
sion no inconvenience to Government, and the low 
interest on Public Securities will throw more capital 
into trade, which must be advantageous to the 
country. It seems to follow, from this view of the 
subject, that we should ensure the first fundamental 
operation of exchanging the present Securities for 
others, without the option of remittance to England, 
by refraining from those conditions which may be 
expected to force the capital home, under the power 
which now exists for that purpose. And when that 
is accomplished, we ought, and may securely, take 
the proper steps for reducing the interest. But, as 
I have- already said, my judgment will of course 
remain suspended on these points till it can be ma- 
tured by consultation and discussion at Calcutta.” 

To Mr. Tucker, however, it seemed that the main- 
tenance of a low rate of interest in India was not 
incompatible with those other conditions to which 
allusion has been made; but he saw the urgent 
necessity of impressing upon the Company the evil 
results attending an almost exclusive system of re- 


mittance by bills, when the industrial resources oi 
the country, duly developed, and justly protected, 
might be turned to this profitable account. And 
in the masterly State-paper which I have quoted 
above — a paper which a quarter of a century after- 
wards was read with interest, and cited with com- 
mendation by some of the ablest men of the day — 
he pointed out the means of providing adequate 
remittance through the channel of Commerce, and 
mak in g the advantage of the State the advantage 
also of the people. For nearly fifty years, indeed, 
was Mr. Tucker endeavoring to stimulate these 
commercial remittances — but all to very little pur- 
pose. The sugar, cotton, &c., which he contended 
were the legitimate means of remittance to this 
country, still came in hut scanty supplies ; and the 
Justice to India, for which he clamored, he never 
lived to see granted. A new state of things has 
now arisen. The proportion of the Public Securities, 
held by the native community has progressively in- 
creased. Improved facilities of inter-communication 
have placed Indian Securities more immediately 
under the management of the English resident. 
There is no longer any apprehension of the downfal 
of our Indian Empire. And the long-continued 
Peace in Europe has so reduced the interest of 
money in England, that Indian Securities are still 
sought, for the higher per-centage they bear. But 
still the subject enlarged upon in the Financial letter 
of August, 1809, is one that demands the considera- 
tion of the Indian statesman, for with it is mixed up 

r 2 



the whole question of the encouragement of the Agri- 
culture, the Manufactures, and the Trade of India ; 
and therefore of the prosperity of the country and 
the happiness of the people.* 

But he had not long devoted himself to the duties 
of his new office, when fresh sorrows came to lacerate 
his heart. In the summer of that year he received 
information of the death of two of his brothers. 
They had been drowned in the Channel on their 
way to the coast of Spain. Colonel George and 
Captain Nathaniel Tucker, of the King’s service, 
had embarked on board the Primrose sloop of war, 
which formed part of a convoy proceeding to Spain 
with troops destined to join the army then operating 
in the Peninsula. Colonel Tucker had embarked 
on board this vessel rather than on the frigate 
which had charge of the convoy, because, crowded 
as was the latter with officers of rank, there was 
no room for his brother — and his brotherly affection 
cost him his life. A few hours after their embarka- 
tion at PaJmouth the Primrose was wrecked on the 
“ Manacles,” and with the exception of a boy, who 
was picked off one of the ship’s tops, every soul on 
board perished. + 

These multiplied bereavements cut Mr. Tucker to 
the soul. “ Peel them I must,” he exclaimed, in a 

* For further information on this important subject I would refer the 
reader to the paper on “ Home Remittances,” in Mr. Tucker’s Memorials of 
Indian Government , p. 381, et teg, 

t Colonel George Tucker was the schoolfellow and farorite brother of the 
subject of this Memoir. He was a good soldier, and on the high road to dis- 
tinction, when his career was thus lamentably closed. 



letter written at the time, “ to the end of my life 
and writing to his sister, he thus expressed the sin* 
cerity of his grief : 

u Calcutta , 27 th August , 1809. — I have not heard from you 
for a long time; nor can I be surprised at it. The afflictions 
which we have suffered must have oppressed your feeling heart, 
and have made it painful to you to communicate with those who 
were equal sufferers. I have felt this myself; and it required 
an effort to write even to those who have not equal cause to 
deplore our irreparable loss. To my poor unfortunate mother I 
have not been able to write a line. What can I say to her? 
For some misfortunes no consolation can be offered. Heaven 
grant that she may have fortitude to support such a succession 
of afflictions! I would willingly speak comfort to you, my 
dearest sister; but it is in vain. I feel this loss almost as a dis- 
solution of the family. Poor fellows! they were its treasure ; 
we can never forget them. I have known little happiness of 
late; but what is personal to myself, I can bear. I had hoped 
to have enjoyed comfort in witnessing their prosperity and 
happiness. They, however, have left a scene of trouble and 
affliction without a reproach ; and we are the sufferers who sur- 
vive. Let me not, however, afflict you. I ought not, perhaps, 
to write on this distressing subject. It shall henceforward be 
buried in my own heart.” 

All through the year 1810, Mr. Tucker continued 
to devote himself diligently to the duties of the 
Secretariat. He went through his work with a 
heavy heart; but he performed it with his accus- 
tomed vigor. The thought of a speedy return to 
England was still uppermost in his mind. What 
he felt on this much-engrossing subject may be 
gathered from his private letters, which better than 
anything else relate the inner history of the man. 
His outer history was one, for the most part, of 
official routine : 




“Calcutta, 17 th Februaiy, 1810 . 

4 * It is now a period of full two years, I believe, since I had 
the satisfaction of receiving a letter from you; but I cannot be 
surprised at your disinclination to write, under the distressing 
circumstances which have occurred within that unhappy period. 
I have felt the same repugnance myself, and did not indeed 
write to you by the last Fleet; but these feelings we must over- 
come if possible. 

44 .. .. I will not say that I am quite determined about the 
period of my departure from India; for nothing beyond the 
present moment can be depended upon; but, as far as I can 
judge at present, I apprehend no obstacle to my leaving the 
country about this time twelvemonth.” 


“ June 10, 1810. 

14 .. .. I wrote to Mrs. T. that I should probably embark 
for England about January next; and I do not foresee at 
present that anything is likely to detain me longer in India. I 
am most anxious to have the happiness of seeing you once more; 
and, please Heaven! I shall enjoy this happiness about this 
time twelvemonth. My eyes are become so weak, that this is 
an additional reason for my leaving the country; for until I re- 
tire from business, I cannot take care of them and spare them 
as I ought to do. 

44 .. .. I do not propose to have a house, or an establish- 
ment of any kind (in England) ; for my fortune is not sufficient 
to admit of anything of the kind. A single room, and a single 
servant, will answer all my purposes, if I should continue (as I 
probably shall do) a bachelor. 

44 1 have recommended to you, my dearest mother, to have 
your little property secured as soon as possible in the Public 

Funds; and I have written to J expressing the same 

opinion. Do not, I entreat you, allow it to remain in any pri- 
vate hands, or to be lent to any individual engaged in com- 
mercial concerns of any kind. I have suffered so severely from 
commercial speculations, that I have a dread of them; and 



much as I regard Mr. , I would not advise you to place 

your property in his House;* for although his business may be 
very good, and he is as kind and as good a being as ever lived, 
it is better to avoid the risk which must attend his and every 

other concern in trade. J , or my friend B , will be 

able to give you the best advice with regard to the mode of dis- 
posing of your little property.” 

“ Calcutta, 24th September, 1810. 

“ . . . . My eyes are so weak, that I cannot venture to write 
much; and in reading I scarcely ever indulge. This defect in 
my sight has determined me to leave the country a year or two 
sooner than I had intended ; and by the end of May or begin- 
ning of June I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you all once 
more. I have written to Captain Hay to reserve accommoda- 
tion for me in the Astell ; but I am a little afraid that others 
have applied before me. I shall, at all events, take my passage 
in one of the ships which will sail in December or January next. 
My health, in all other respects, is perfectly good; and I shall 
consider myself* very fortunate if I enjoy as good health ill 

. . . I was exceedingly mortified to find that the little 
Kentish property had been let again upon a long lease; and 
that my quondam friend, Mr. , had behaved so unhand- 

somely on the occasion. These disappointments will occur, and 
they must be borne with patience. I was very desirous of add- 
ing to the property, and should have been disposed to settle in 
the neighbourhood, as I understand the situation is a pleasant 
one. This idea must now be abandoned, especially as my pre- 
mature return to England will prevent my making that addition 
to my fortune which I had counted upon. I shall not now 
have it my power to form any regular establishment, except as 
far as it may be necessary for your comfort. I shall live my- 
self without house or equipage, upon as moderate a scale of ex- 
pense as possible. 

* The House to which allusion is here made failed in the following year. 



“ November 2nd . — All quite well. I have taken my passage 
in the Sovereign , Captain Campbell ; and as we expect to sail 
direct about the 1st of January, I hope to have the happiness 
of seeing you early in May.” 

And so, after a quarter of a century of exile, he 
set his face towards the white cliffs of England, eager 
to realise the dreams of the Past. He went, carrying 
with him the thanks and the commendations of the 
members of the Supreme Government, who on the 
last day of the year indited the following despatch : 

“ To the Honorable the Court of Directors for Affairs of the Honor- 
able the United Company of Merchants of England trading to 
the East Indies. 

“ Honorable Sirs, — We are extremely concerned that 
Mr. Henry St. George Tucker, the Secretary to the Govern- 
ment in the Public Department of this Presidency, is compelled 
to resign that office, and proceed to England in the Honorable 
Company’s ship, Sovereign. 

“ 2. On the departure of any of your servants, who have 
discharged the duties of their official situations with distin- 
guished credit and ability, and with eminent advantage to the 
public interests, we deem it an act both of duty and of justice 
to afford to your Honorable Court our testimony to the merits 
of their conduct, and to the importance of their services. To 
none could this testimony be more justly due than it is to Mr. 
Tucker, who not only in the office which he is about to resign, 
but in other important and responsible situations under this 
Government, has established a more than ordinary claim to our 
approbation and that of your Honorable Court, by the appli- 
cation of talents and acquirements of the highest order, with 
unwearied diligence, and unimpeached integrity, in the dis- 
charge of the laborious duties committed to his charge during 
a long course of active employment in the Civil Service of the 
Honorable Company. 

“ 3. At the express desire of the late Governor-General, 



Marquis Wellesley, Mr. Tucker was induced, at a season of 
great financial difficulty, to relinquish the situation of Secretary 
to Government in the Revenue Department, of which the 
salary was 50,000 rupees per annum, and accept that of Ac- 
countant-General, at a salary of not more than 38,000. Mr. 
Tucker, we understand, was led to expect, but has not hitherto 
received, a compensation for this sacrifice of private interest to 
the calls of the public service, and proposes to submit his claim, 
on this account, to your Honorable Court — a claim to which we 
cannot refuse to solicit your favorable attention. 

“4. Mr. Tucker’s peculiar abilities in the Department of 
Finance are not unknown to your Honorable Court. The 
services which he rendered to Government by the very able 
manner in which he conducted the important and laborious 
duties of the office of Accountant-General, merited and ob- 
tained the recorded approbation of Government. We acknow- 
ledge, also, the advantage which we have derived from Mr. 
Tuckers assistance in forming our plans for the regulation of 
your financial concerns since his appointment to the office of 
Secretary to the Government in the Public Department; the 
general duties of which have been conducted by Mr. Tucker 
with distinguished ability, and in a manner to demand our 
highest approbation. 

44 5. These long and meritorious services, we trust, will 
appear to your Honorable Court to claim your favorable regard 
to any representations which Mr. Tucker may have occasion to 
address to you, and your consent to his return to India without 
prejudice to his rank, if the state of his health, which has com- 
pelled his departure without having acquired a competency, 
shall enable him to resume his exertions in the service of the 
Honorable Company. 

44 We have, &c., Honorable Sirs, 

44 Your most faithful, humble servants, 

( Signed) 4 4 Minto. 

“ G. Hewett. 

44 J. Lumsden. 


“Fort William, the 31st December, 1810.” 



At the same time the Governor- General wrote a 
private letter to Lord Melville, who presided at the 
India Board, in strong recommendation of Mr. 
Tucker; and to other influential men at home 
addressed himself in terms equally commendatory of 
the public servant from whom he had derived such 
important assistance. In the month of May, 1810 , 
the Sovereign entered port. 




Mr. Tucker’s Reception in England— Meeting with his Mother — Visit to 
Mr. Carre — Miss Boswell — Mr. Tucker’s Marriage — His Wedding-Tour— 
Recognition of his Services — His intended Return to India — The Voyage 
to Calcutta. 

On his return to England, Mr. Tucker met with a 
most flattering reception, both from the Court of 
Directors and the Board of Control. On the day of 
his arrival in London, Lord Melville sent for him, 
and held him in conference for more than an hour. 
He was the depository of a rich store of information, 
which the governing bodies were most anxious to 

He had many old friends, too, in London, who were 
eager to show him the attention that was his due ; 
and much business, too, that it was necessary at once 
to transact. So that, impatient as he was to em- 
brace his mother and his sister, he was detained in 
the metropolis, for some little time, against his' 
will. “ I have some business of great importance to 
transact,” he wrote to the former, from Charles- 
street, Berkeley-square, “which I cannot possibly 
get through before Eriday or Saturday. On Eriday 
or Saturday evening, however, I will positively set 
off in the mail, come what will, for I will no longer 
deny myself the happiness of embracing those who 



are so dear to me. I have been received here in the 
most flattering manner, and this is one cause of my 
detention ; for the kindness of my friends has pre- 
vented my paying all that attention to business 
which was necessary.” In a previous letter he had 
written, also to his mother, who was at Cheltenham : 
“ I am in the best possible health, and shall be most 
happy in revisiting my country, if I find my Mends 
so. Heaven bless and preserve you 1” He fulfilled 
his promise, and was soon in his mother’s arms. 

Having spent a brief season of happiness in the 
society of his widowed parent and his beloved sister, 
he set out for Scotland, on a visit to those relatives 
who had received him, when a boy in England, fresh 
from his western home. He found, unfortunately, a 
sick house ; and he wrote to his mother from Edin- 
burgh, in July : “ This illness has cast a gloom over 
us all ; but the sun is beginning to shine with us 
again, and I hope that the conclusion of my visit to 
Edinburgh will be more auspicious than its com- 
mencement.” In this letter, as in many others 
written at this period, the tenderest regard is 
evinced for the happiness and comfort of the aged 
parent, whose declining years he had done so much 
to solace and to cheer. It was one of his chief 
cares to provide her with a comfortable home. 
Whether an arrangement could be made for them 
to live together had been canvassed between them, 
but there was an obstacle in the way. “ You are 
unequal,” he wrote, “ to the fatigue of house-keep- 
ing; and it is impossible for me to impose this 



trouble upon you. I, myself, am totally ignorant 
of everything of the kind ; and even if it were cer- 
tain (which it is not) that I shall remain in England, 
I could not undertake to manage a household esta- 
blishment. I believe, therefore, that I have nothing 
for it, but to look out for a wife, or some good- 
natured friend, to assist me in this way.” 

This was said jestingly, but there was deep mean- 
ing at the bottom of it. The idea of taking a wife 
was not, indeed, at that time a mere abstraction. 
It already pressed itself on his mind as an embodied 
reality. It was not a thought of a wife ; but of the 
wife. He had, in his heart, made the election that 
was to influence the future happiness of his life. 

On his way to Edinburgh he had paid passing 
visits to some friends ; amongst others, to Mr. Alex- 
ander Carre, of Caverse, in Roxburghshire. Mr. 
Carre was married to Miss Boswell, daughter of Mr. 
Robert Boswell, of Edinburgh, Writer to the Signet, 
a member of the Auchinleck family, and a rela- 
tive of Johnson’s biographer. It happened that a 
younger sister was then residing with Mrs. Carre. 
Mr. Tucker there saw her for the first time ; but it 
can scarcely be said that they met as strangers. 
Another sister was married to Mr. Egerton, of the 
Bengal Civil Service, who had succeeded Mr. Tucker 
as Accountant-General, and with whom he had 
long lived in habits of intimacy and friendship. Of 
her younger sister, Mrs. Egerton had often spoken 
to him in terms of the strongest sisterly affection ; 
and in letters home had alluded to Mr. Tucker, as 



to an old and a dear friend, for whom, on his visit 
to England, she bespoke all their kindness and hos- 
pitality. So, now that Miss Jane Boswell and Mr. 
Tucker met, face to face, at Caverse, they met 
almost as old Mends ; there were common ties to 
knit them together. She had much to ask ; and he, 
much to tell. And there was no disappointment on 
either side. Mrs. Egerton had not exaggerated the 
womanly beauty and gentleness of the one, or the 
manly intelligence and kindness of the other. So it 
happened that the acquaintance, which then com- 
menced, soon ripened into love between them. 

On the 15th of August he wrote to his mother, 
from Charles-street, that he was "in a fair way, 
after all, of getting married and before the follow- 
ing month had worn to a close, the Church had 
pronounced Henry St.George Tucker and Jane Bos- 
well to he man and wife. 

Erom the letters written by Mr. Tucker, during 
this interval, a few extracts maybe made — brief and 
characteristic. They do not advance the progress of 
his outer history ; but they afford many glimpses of 
his inner life of thought and feeling. It is not 
necessary to indicate the date of each particular 

“ I have always been of a domestic disposition, although the 
tenor of my former life may seem at variance with this fact. 
All my future joys must centre in my family; but still I am 
not so churlish as not to partake in the amusements of others, 
and I hope I have generosity enough to wish you to indulge in 
every innocent gratification, even when I cannot be a partaker 
in the enjoyment. ...” 



“ The forms and observances of religion ought to be attended 
to; and I love the spirit of unaffected piety, at the same time 
that I revolt from bigotry, violence, and the spirit of party in 
religion I have always thought that religion should in- 

spire us with pleasing ideas, and never render us gloomy. He 
who is strongly impressed with the benevolence of the Creator 
ought not to be gloomy. All Nature — everything we see — 
assures us of His benevolence ! Nothing can elevate our ideas 
of the Creator so much as the contemplation of the innumerable 
worlds which are circulating around us ” 

“ A noble pride is the best foundation of high character; but 
that pride which occupies itself with petty objects, is neither 
respectable nor amiable ” 

“ Passion is nothing more than a little quickness of feeling; 
and if it be not in excess, there is no harm in it. Oftentimes 
it is accompanied by great generosity. On the other hand, ill- 
temper and sullenness of disposition are real defects of character; 
and they are calculated to produce as much misery in the mar- 
riage state, as a want of principle and of every amiable quality/’ 

“ I observed to you that it would take me a month to answer 
your letters; and so it would, if I went on writing as long as I 
could find matter to write about. The mode I pursue is to read 
them over, and take notes (in a single word or two) of the sub- 
jects to which they refer; but I feel always so strong an interest 
during the perusal, that at least half the subjects escape me, and 
my notes are very imperfect. I must adopt a new plan, I think, 
and reply to line after line ; but there is an advantage in taking 
notes, for with a glance of the eye you can arrange the subjects 
in their proper order. I used to adopt this practice in my public 
correspondence, and it enables you to write in a more connected 
manner. Not that this sort of regularity is necessary in private 
correspondence. I do not know that it may not sometimes be 
a little ungraceful , for ease ought to characterise this correspon- 



dence. Anything studied or constrained appears quite out of 
place; and I am a thousand times more pleased with your un- 
premeditated desultory observations, than I should be with the 
most finished composition. Your sex are considered to excel 
in letter-writing; and it is because you write as you feel. We 
may admire Art; but we are always pleased with Nature, and 
Nature never makes a fuss about anything. If she were to take it 
into her head to write letters, they would be written with ease.” 

“ Lord Minto has been most kind to my brother William, 
and has given him an appointment (the situation of Deputy- 
Paymaster-General to the troops employed on the Expedition). 
It will not make W. rich; but it pleases him, and it pleases 
me to find his Lordship so attentive to my parting request. 
He has, indeed, complied with all my requests in the most 
handsome manner; and I feel under great obligation to him.” 

“ When I reflect and see the happiness which I have in 
prospect, every wrong passion is, I hope, subdued, and I feel a 
degree of gratitude which it is impossible to express.” 

“ You are quite new to the world, and you have yet ex- 
perienced none of its cares and anxieties. May you never ex- 
perience them ! but ... we must be prepared to meet a little 
of those inconveniences, to which all mankind are subject. 
We cannot expect that we shall be entirely exempt from ad- 
versity. I would not willingly depress your spirits, or say 
anything likely to check the current of your joy; but I would 
wish to guard you, as far as possible, against disappointment.” 

“ You have gratified me exceedingly by the ready manner 
.in which you have consented to take charge of my little wards, 
the Richardsons. R. loves me, I believe, as a brother, and 
I certainly love him as an invaluable friend. We have been 
most intimate ever since I was a boy (he is some years older 
than myself); and never, I believe, in the course of so many 


years, have we experienced the slightest interruption to our 

“ I mentioned to you that I would not send any more letters 
for your perusal; but I must gratify myself by forwarding the 
enclosed from Mrs. Fendall. Do not suspect that I send it 
from any feeling of vanity. I am sometimes cut to the soul 
on receiving praise which I do not deserve. I am mortified 
when I look within, and find the reality so different from 
what the partiality of my friends would represent me. It has 
been my fortune through life to meet with enthusiastic friends 
and inveterate enemies. You have seen what the former are; 
and I will some day give you a singular instance of what the 
latter are capable of doing. But never mind them — they are 
not our concern at present. I send you Mrs. F.’s letter to 
read, because I flatter myself that it will gratify you, and 
make you better acquainted with this excellent, warm-hearted 

“ If I had been inclined to add a motto, it should be one 
which I have long purposed to adopt — 4 Nil desperandum.’ 
The words apply well enough to some part of my life ; and 
they form part of a speech made by my Greek ancestor, 
Teucer, to his companions, on the occasion of his banishment 
from Salamis to the island of Bermuda. Your brothers will 
tell you where to find this speech in Horace, and they 
will translate it to you. I am descended, also, as I believe I 
told you, from the Kings of Jerusalem, and the ancient 
Princes of Wales. The Bosvilles cannot boast a higher pedi- 
gree. Our name is, however, precisely the same as the Greek 
Teucer; for this latter could not actually be written in Greek 
letters. They would give Tuker, or Tucker. 

“ We are agreed, then, to prefer ancient simplicity, and not 
to like finery of any kind. The ancients, I suspect, did not 
usually drive four horses, except in battle, or at the race- 
course; and we will therefore be content to travel with a pair; 
for, according to the best calculation, four would double the 
expense, without much adding to our comfort. The other 



pair we will reserve for the peasantry in our neighbourhood. 
We obtain a godlike gratification by indulging a spirit of 
charity and benevolence.” 

This last passage was written a few days before 
his marriage, which was solemnised on the closing 
day of September. They were married from Mr. 
Carre’s house, Caverse, in Roxburghshire, and set 
out immediately on a tour, through some of the 
most beautiful parts of Scotland. “ We have been 
r unnin g about,” he wrote, on the 10th of October 
from Montrose, “to the Falls of Clyde, Glasgow, 
Loch Lomond, Loch Katrine, &e., and nothing 
could be more delightful than this excursion. We 
have every prospect of many happy days and happy 
years together; and I am grateful to Heaven for 
the blessing it has bestowed upon me.” 

In November he proceeded to Edinburgh, and soon 
began to busy himself with thoughts of his return 
to India. lie had made up his mind, before his 
marriage, to take this step, not so much for his own 
sake, as for the sake of others, and had written to 
his betrothed a characteristic letter, in which he 
said : “ I think precisely as you do with respect to 
our going abroad. It would be more pleasant to 
remain where we are ; but circumstanced as I am 
it is right to go. It would be to indulge a very 
selfish feeling if we remained here, at the risk 
of being compelled to deny others those little com- 
forts which we have it in our power to procure for 
them. If we retain our health, a short residence in 
India will be no serious grievance. If you find that 



the climate does not agree with your constitution, 
we can always return, and he content with some- 
thing less.” And speaking further of this con- 
tingency, he said: “You must be satisfied in this 
case to settle down quietly in Scotland without 
splendor or riches. I can perceive that your good 
mother is anxious that I should give Scotland a 
preference. Now I can do this without any diffi- 
culty. I will readily agree to our residing near her, 
if I should not have business which would fix me 
in London. I am not likely to have any such busi- 
ness, although I am told that a situation in the 
India House would have been offered to me had 
I arrived in England a year sooner. It has since 
been given to another person.” 

It is probable that the resolution of returning to 
India was formed in consequence of his intended 
marriage. It seems to have taken a definite shape 
in his mind between the months of July and Sep- 
tember. In the former, although he had declared 
himself ready to proceed immediately to Bengal, if 
his services were required, he said that he had then 
no fixed intention of returning to India. On his 
first arrival in England he had been consulted by 
Mr. Bosanquet, the Chairman of the East India 
Company, respecting some financial matters, among 
which was the question of the best means of re- 
mitting to England the surplus funds in the Indian 
treasuries. With respect to remittances in bullion, 
he wrote : “ I cannot pretend to say what particu- 
lar sum those on the spot may deem it prudent 

s 2 



to send off immediately, but I have no hesitation in 
saying that I myself should consider it both safe 
and practicable, and easy to despatch from Bengal 
and Madras in January next a sum of from two to 
three millions sterling in specie and bullion. Of 
dollars, however, the proportion will, I imagine, 
be very small. Some gold may be supplied from 
Madras ; but the bulk of the remittance must be 
in the Bengal silver currency. I have, for some 
time past, considered the question of this remit- 
tance as embracing a great national object, as well 
as objects most interesting to the Company ; and I 
would have gone back to India to assist in the 
arrangements which might be necessary for carry- 
ing it into effect, had my services been called for or 
desired. I have formed no determination yet to 
return to India, nor am I now soliciting employ- 
ment there or elsewhere; but I take such an in- 
terest in that branch of the public business in 
which I have been long employed, that I shall be 
disposed to do everything in my power to promote 
its success, even under circumstances of incon- 
venience to myself.” 

The admirable letter from which this passage is 
taken indicates that neither the excitement of his 
first arrival in England, after an absence of a quarter 
of a century, nor the delightful thought of em- 
bracing the relatives whom he so much loved, had 
diminished his public zeal, or in any way dimmed 
the clearness of his perceptions, or disturbed the 
logical arrangement of his ideas. It was, too, about 


this time that he drew up a valuable paper entitled 
“ Hints for Accountants- General,” full of truths, 
which, obvious as many of them may seem to be, 
are often disregarded by Financiers. It is written in 
a style so pleasant and animated — Finance, indeed, 
seems to be made so easy in it — that even the most 
careless reader may peruse the more general portion 
of it, which I now subjoin, without a complaint of 
the dryness of the subject : 


“ 1st. It is necessary to extend the view occasionally to a dis- 
tant period, embracing at least the whole year ; but the service 
01 the two or three months next ensuing should never be out of 
sight. It is no longer time to make provision for an emergency 
when that emergency arrives. 1 Time and I against any two,’ 
was said heretofore. Time and the borrower will be an over- 
match for any lender ; but without time there is no room for 
the exertion of skill in financial affairs. Above all, it is neces- 
sary to attend to the state of the general Treasury. Any blow 
there is mortal. You may be bankrupt in any other quarter 
without serious inconvenience, and without much discredit. 

“ 2nd. If you allow yourself to be pushed off your centre, 
either from an over-anxiety to provide for the investment, or 
otherwise, you may never recover the equilibrium. Credit once 
lost is not suddenly regained. The stone which is precipitated 
down in a few minutes, cannot be rolled up again without in- 
finite labor. A temporary object may possibly be accomplished 
by a violent effort; but, the sinews once over-strained, are 
incapable for ever after of exerting the same force. It is some- 
times judicious to husband your means — to put your strength 
out at interest, in order that you may act with greater efficiency 
on important occasions. If we had not acted in this manner in 
the year 1801, I do not believe that we should have got rid of 
our twelve-per-cent. Treasury-bills at this moment ; and as for the 



reduction of the interest of the debt to six per cent., or the 
production of a surplus revenue of a million sterling, we 
might have dreamed of such things, but we should only have 

“ 3rd. There may be wisdom in a multitude of counsellors, 
but I have not found this to be the case in the affairs of Finance. 
Secrecy is sometimes indispensable ; and you cannot be secret 
sometimes, if you are not habitually secret. I would not advise 
you to consult with the agents or other individuals ; for I do 
not recollect ever to have received an opinion or suggestion of 
any value from them. The fact is, that they see only one part 
of the concern ; and it is not, therefore, to be expected that they 
can form any general combinations. Without at all supposing 
that they would be influenced by their own particular interests, 
it is impossible that they should take a judicious or compre- 
hensive view of our affairs, with which they are so little ac- 

“ The same degree of reserve should be practised even with the 
confidential officers of the Government (and with one in par- 
ticular). They cannot assist you with their advice, and they 
may mar your projects by their indiscretion. Address yourself 
directly to the Governor-General, or to the member of Govern- 
ment who may preside in the department, and communicate as 
little as possible with any other individual. If you find a dis- 
position on the part of any meddling person to interfere with 
you, resist it manfully in the first instance, and abjure all re- 
sponsibility if it be permitted or countenanced in any manner. 

“ 4th. Watch the movements of Capital and Commerce . Vigi- 
lance and circumspection are at all times necessary ; but in 
times of difficulty the greatest attention is necessary to the state 
of the money-market. The price of bullion — the quantity im- 
ported or exported — the demand for bills on particular quarters 
— the rates of exchange — furnish grounds for deducing parti- 
cular conclusions ; but many other facts and appearances will 
require attention. It may be supposed, perhaps, that the rates 
of interest paid by individuals ought to furnish more direct and 
certain inferences ; but I am not of this opinion exactly. The 
current rates of interest must, doubtless, be attended to ; but 


my experience has convinced me that this market is affected by 
circumstances, which do not by any means indicate the true and 
legitimate demand for capital. It is sometimes put into an 
unnatural, feverish state by the wants of a single individual ; and 
it is necessary to distinguish carefully between such paroxysms 
and the effects produced by the regular demands of a more 
healthful commerce. It is not easy to ascertain the extent of 
the capital which is likely to be at the disposal of Govern- 
ment ; but some judgment may be formed of it by attentive 

“ When the necessity for borrowing is become manifest and 
certain, it is much better to offer at once to the public such 
terms as are likely to be accepted, than to expose yourself to 
the risk of being compelled to raise your terms. F or instance, 
if you offered seven per cent., and in consequence of a disap- 
pointment it should be found afterwards necessary to tender 
eight, it may happen that eight, which would have succeeded 
in the first instance, will not be accepted after a failure. The 
public will then speculate upon an increasing ratio of distress; 
and they will be disposed to withhold their funds in the expec- 
tation of obtaining ten or twelve per cent. When you have 
secured the funds required, it will not be difficult to reduce your 
rates of interest by a gradual operation. This was effected by 
us in 1801 and 1802 with singular success. Subsequently, in 
the end of 1805, I was induced to offer ten-per-cent. Treasury- 
notes in order to get rid of an oppressive load of floating debt. 
Here, too, we succeeded most completely, and in a very short 
time we were again in a condition to resume the offensive; but 
had we tendered eight per cent., it would not probably have been 
accepted. We should have been obliged to raise our terms; 
and we might have been embarrassed with a floating debt at 
the present moment. The only time for undertaking any finan- 
cial operation with the prospect of success, is when you have a 
full Treasury, or at least when you are free from any immediate 

“ The inequality of the instalments of our Revenue and charge 
lias now been well ascertained, and the necessity of attending 
to it has been made sufficiently apparent. Tire same dispro- 



portion exists at Fort St. George; and it should of course be 
adverted to. 

“ It is also necessary to attend to the flux and reflux of 
money at the Presidency, as well as to those circumstances 
which occasion a periodical exacerbation of the demand for it. 
This demand is always very urgent at the periods fixed for clear- 
ing out the salt and opium ; but it is sometimes increased by 
other circumstances, which can only be ascertained by a watch- 
ful and constant attention, since their operation is not steady 
and invariable. 

“ The ebb and flow of money at the public treasuries must 
be well known to the Accountant-General, for it is constantly 
in his view ; but the periodical flux and reflux of the private 
capital should also be attended to. For instance: the salt 
is realised in the interior of the country; the amount is re- 
mitted by the merchants to Calcutta, partly in specie, and 
partly in grain and other articles which are required for the con- 
sumption of the town. The specie, of course, comes directly 
to the Treasury in payment for the salt, and the value of the 
grain, &c., when sold, comes to us in the same manner. The 
money issued from the Treasury on account of interest, in pay- 
ment of salaries, &c., &c., is employed in part to make these 
purchases of grain, &e., &c., and in part is remitted into the in- 
terior for the purchase of goods, indigo, &c., intended for ex- 
portation to Europe. These goods constitute the channel for 
remitting the savings of incomes and the interest of the public 
debt, which is paid by us in cash on the spot ” 

It has been mentioned that Mr. Tucker, on his 
arrival in England, was received in the most flatter- 
ing maimer both by the Court of Directors and the 
Board of Control. The former body soon after- 
wards evinced their high sense of his services by 
conferring on him a substantial mark of their appro- 
bation. They voted him a sum of money, amount- 



ing, at the exchange of the day, to about 60002.* 
Intimation of the grant reached Mr. Tucker soon 
after his marriage. It was scarcely possible for 
anything to have rendered him happier than he 
then was ; but looking as he did upon money as the 
means of increasing the comfort and happiness of 
others, the liberality of the Court added something 
to the pile of blessings, and profoundly enhanced 
the gratitude of his heart. 

Early in the following year — 1812 — Mr. Tucker 
was in London making preparations for the voyage 
to Calcutta. The situation which he was to occupy 
on his return to India was naturally an object of 
consideration. lie believed that his services entitled 
him to aspire to one of the highest. And as a seat 
in Council was likely soon to be vacant, he availed 
himself of the opportunity afforded by a conversa- 
tion with the Chairman of the East India Company, 
to mention his views in that direction, and ask for 
the support of the Court. 

In the course of conversation, however, the name 
of Mr. Edmonstone was mentioned in connexion with 
the vacant seat ; and Mr. Tucker at once, with cha- 
racteristic ingenuousness and magnanimity, declared 

* “ We have agreed,” wrote the Court, early in November, to Bengal, M to 
present Mr. Henry StGeorge Tucker, of your Civil Establishment, and lato 
Secretary to Government in the Public Department, with the sum of 50,000 
Sicca rupees, as a token of our approbation of the integrity and ability with 
which he has discharged the duties of the several important situations lie has 
filled in our service, under your Presidency ; and, accordingly, direct that you 
pay the same to Mr. Tucker’s agents, in Bengal.” 



that he could not pretend to he as well qualified for 
the situation as a man of such eminent attainments as 
his Mend. What effect this frank testimony in favor 
of another may have had upon Mr. Tucker’s chance 
of nomination, I cannot even conjecture — but soon 
afterwards Mr. Edmonstone was appointed member 
of Council. When the decision of the Court reached 
the two candidates, they were both of them in Cal- 
cutta. The generous conduct of Mr. Tucker had 
been communicated to his friend, and when they 
next met in the City of Palaces, Edmonstone ex- 
claimed : “No one but you — no one in the world 
but you Mould have acted such a part.” This M-as 
almost better than the appointment itself. The 
guns of Eort William proclaiming that he had been 
SM'orn in Member of the Supreme Council could 
scarcely have sounded more pleasantly in his ears 
than such words as these so uttered. 

This, however, is an anticipation of the narrative. 
Mr. Tucker and his bride are now in London, pre- 
paring for their voyage to Calcutta. They have 
determined to take with them a niece of the former 
— the eldest daughter of his only sister. They have 
taken their passage on board the Company’s ship 
Bengal , commanded by Captain Niclioll — they have 
excellent accommodation, what is technically called 
“ half of the round house” — and now, in the month 
of April, they are fairly afloat. 

They met with no adventures on the way — neither 
shipwreck nor Pirates, so that there is nothing to 



record; but it is still remembered, by tbe companion 
of his voyage, how kindly and assiduously the some- 
time Accountant-General instructed his niece, who 
was an apt scholar, in the rudiments of mathema- 
tics ; and how, when mirth was to be promoted, and 
amusement was the order of the day, the grave 
financier was as joyous and frolicsome as any of the 
young midshipmen and cadets. 




Return to India — The Financial Secretaryship — The Seat in Council — Want 
of Money at Home — Bullion-supplies — Correspondence with Sir Hugh 
Inglis — Mr. Tucker’s Measures — Scarcity of Money in India — Correspon- 
dence with Mr. Davis — Death of Mr. Tucker’s Mother — The Chief 
Secretaryship— Return to England. 

Gee at beyond measure was Mr. Tucker’s delight 
on first returning to the scene of his old labors. 
Escorting his wife, in the first instance, to Garden 
Reach — the loveliest river-side suburb in the world 
—where he had made arrangements to share with 
Mr. and Mrs. Egerton* one of those stately villas 
which render the seaward approach to Calcutta so 
picturesquely inviting, he hurried off to the busy 
parts of the town, to receive the welcome of his old 

Foremost amongst those who were eager to extend 
to him a hand of kindly greeting was the Governor- 
General. As soon as it was announced at Govern- 
ment House that Mr. Tucker had arrived, Lord 
Minto sent for him ; and the result of the conference 
which then ensued was, that a special office was 
created for the man whose great financial ability 

* Mr. Egerton had succeeded Tucker as Accountant-General. Mrs. Eger- 
ton was Mrs. Tucker’s sister. 



had saved, and was saving, millions to the State. 
On the 8th of August Mr. Tucker was appointed 
“ Secretary to Government in the Colonial and Fi- 
nancial Department.” 

The April ships — the very fleet, indeed, with which 
Mr. Tucker sailed — carried out intelligence of the 
nomination of Mr. Edmonstone to a seat in Council. 
This appointment was to take effect from the 31st 
of July, at which date Mr. Lumsden’s five years’ 
tenure of office terminated. Mr. Colebrooke, the 
other member of Council, had then served for nearly 
five years; and the same Court which appointed 
Mr. Edmonstone, nominated also another Councillor 
provisionally, to succeed to the seat which would be 
vacant in the course of October. By the Committee 
of Correspondence, with whom the nomination ori- 
ginated, Mr. Tucker was selected. But the General 
Court did not confirm the appointment ; and it was 
given to Mr. Seton. 

By Mr. Tucker the disappointment was borne, as 
he might be expected to bear it, manfully and un- 
complainingly, and with a grateful recognition of 
all the blessings that had been vouchsafed to him. 
“ If I had been really distressed at this disappoint- 
ment,” he wrote to his wife, “ your note would 
operate as a cordial to my heart. But, in truth, it 
is not a serious evil ; and I should be the most un- 
grateful being upon earth, if I allowed such a cir- 
cumstance to make me forget the many and inesti- 
mable blessings I enjoy. Never was man more 
favored ; and I trust that I am not insensible to the 



numberless benefits conferred upon me — although I 
am not perhaps so grateful, and, perhaps, it is im- 
possible for me to be so grateful, as I ought to be. I 
only pray Heaven to continue me these blessings ; 
and other disappointments I can easily bear.” And 
again, he wrote, with reference to the same subject : 
“ Possessing, as we happily do, so many blessings, 
we ought not to be depressed by a single disappoint- 
ment. Everything is ordained for the best ; and we 
have abundant reason to be grateful for that large 
and unmerited (in my case, at least,) portion of 
good that has been assigned to us.” 

His philosophy, indeed, was eminently cheerful ; 
and he had a deep sense of gratitude, which he was 
ever ready to express. “ We cannot,” he wrote in 
another letter, “be too grateful for the blessings 
which have been bestowed upon us; and we best 
show our sense of obligation to a gracious Provi- 
dence by receiving His gifts with a grateful and a 
cheerful heart, without repining at the idea that 
something still is wanting to our happiness.” 
“There are two things,” he continued, “which I 
endeavor to avoid, in order to escape perpetual 
vexation and annoyance. The one is, looking back 
to the Past for the purpose of discovering omissions 
and mistakes and errors* — the other is looking into 
the Future for the purpose of anticipating evil. The 
day brings with it troubles enough; and if we add 

* I conclude that Mr. Tucker here means only to express his sense of th$ 
folly of vain regrets and repinings. But the lessons of the Past, rightly con- 
sidered as guides to the Future, art the best heritage of sua. 



to the Present all the troubles of the Past and the 
Puture, our condition would be intolerable. So 
much for the moral lessons of the day !” 

But in the midst of all this enjoyment of so many 
and great blessings a heavy blow descended upon 

them. Their young charge, Miss L , who had 

accompanied them from England, was prostrated by 
one of the cruel fevers of the country, and never 
rose again from her bed. The death of his niece 
deeply afflicted Mr. Tucker, who trembled for the 
effect which the sad tidings would have upon her 
bereaved mother ; and looked with the most painful 
anxiety for the arrival of the vessels by which he 
expected to receive from England an acknowledg- 
ment of the most distressing communication he had 
ever been called upon to make. Eor many months 
this sad event cast a shadow over their happiness, 
and filled their affectionate hearts with apprehen- 
sions that they could not suppress. In such a case 
as this, Love proved stronger than Philosophy, and 
the theory of never anticipating evil was not proof 
against such a trial as now assailed them. 

Nor was this the only sorrow that afflicted him 
during the second period of his residence in India. 
Another trial was in store for him, of which I shall 
come presently to speak. But no private sorrows 
ever interfered with the vigorous prosecution of his 
labors as a public servant. The year 1813 wit- 
nessed the completion of some great financial mea- 
sureB, which obviated a pressing difficulty severely 
4pfc;in Leadenhall- street, and conferred substantial 



benefits on the King’s Government in a very cri- 
tical conjuncture. 

In the penultimate chapter it has been briefly 
shown that whilst the financial prosperity of the 
Indian Government had been established by the 
series of great measures which Mr. Tucker initi- 
ated, and there was everywhere an abundance of 
money flushing the Public Treasuries, the very evi- 
dences and results of this prosperity were causing 
grievous inconvenience to those who had the ma- 
nagement of the Finances at home. The clauses in 
the terms of the Loans, which gave the public 
creditor the option of receiving the interest of his 
securities in the shape of Government-hills on the 
Home Treasury, and of exchanging such securities 
for bills on England, had caused such a strain upon 
the resources of the Company at home, that Leaden- 
hall-street was perplexed and dismayed. Bills were 
coming in upon the Court in such numbers, and to 
such an amount, that it was impossible to meet 
them without foreign aid. In this emergency it 
was natural that they should have looked in the 
first instance to the cash balances in India, of which 
they were receiving such flourishing accounts. It 
appeared, at one time, that there was an available 
surplus of two millions and a half sterling. The 
Company, therefore, called upon their officers to 
send home large supplies of bullion; but Lord 
Minto was slow to meet the demands of the Court, 
and for some time their expectations were disap- 


pointed. Bills came in in profusion ; but money to 
meet them did not come. 

The chagrin of the Court was great. And it is 
easy to account for it. Not only was the perplexity 
extreme, but singularly unseasonable. The Company 
were seeking a renewal of their Charter. And there 
was a scarcity of coin in England. At such a time 
it was natural that the great corporation should 
have desired to “ stand well,” as it was called, with 
the country. The country itself was in a strait. 
Cash was wanted to pay the Army in the Peninsula ; 
but somehow or other all the specie seemed to have 
been drained out of the land.* It was not a time 

* Mr. Tucker attributed this to the erroneous financial policy of the 
British Government. In an elaborate paper on the exportation of bullion 
(drawn up about the year 1814 ), he thus expressed himself on the subject: 

“ The British Government have endeavored by means of penalties to pre- 
vent the melting down and exportation of the established coin of the realm ; 
but the coin has nevertheless disappeared entirely; and when a measure thus 
fails in accomplishing the end proposed, there is reason to suspect some fun- 
damental error. It was notorious that at the time, when the most rigorous 
measures were enforced to preserve the national coin, the Government re- 
quired remittances to the Continent to an amount far exceeding what the 
trade could supply; and the remittances could not therefore be generally 
effected without the aid of bullion. But bullion the Government could not 
procure; guineas never approached the Exchequer; and the law forbade their 
exportation even if they had more frequently appeared. As an alternative, 
the public officers abroad were of necessity allowed to draw on the Treasury 
at home; or in other words, individuals were invited to do what the Govern- 
ment could not or would not do. They were invited by the temptation of a 
high exchange to remit money for the supply of the military chest in Spain 
and Portugal; the current coin was accordingly melted down and exported 
as bullion, or was smuggled out of the country at great risk and expense; 
and for this additional charge, as well as for the ordinary expenses attending 
the remittance, a full indemnification was required and was obtained in the 
terms of the Exchange. The Government in this instance may be considered 
to have held out, unconsciously, a premium to its subjects, as an indemnifica- 
tion for the personal hazard and extraordinary expense attending a breach of 
the law. 




for the Company to go to Parliament for pecuniary 
aid without damage to themselves; and yet the 
state of things that had arisen rendered such a 
course inevitable. Mr. Tucker, when in England, 
had told both the Court of Directors and the Board 
of Control, that large supplies of bullion might 
easily be remitted from India; and the Company 
saw how advantageous to their interests it would be, 
at such a time, to reciprocate favors with the King’s 
Government, by furnishing the specie of which the 
latter stood so greatly in need.* But, in spite of 
the urgent demands of the Court, and the promises, 
as they said, of Lord Minto, the bullion never ar- 
rived. So the Chairs put themselves into commu- 

“The enormous difference of exchange paid by the Government on its 
remittances to Spain and Portugal during the last four or five years, suf- 
ficiently testifies the fact, although I do not mean to say that other circum- 
stances did not concur to produce this unfavorable exchange. Still it is un- 
questionable that, in prohibiting or obstructing the exportation of specie, the 
Government pursued a line of conduct tending to counteract their own views 
and interests in one quarter, without promoting at all the great object of 
preserving the national coin.” 

* “A supply of bullion to the amount we were entitled to expect, would 
have enabled the Company to have gone into Parliament for the 
renewal of their Charter on much higher ground than can now be 
taken. It would have enabled the Minister to have given us with more 
ease that support we so much want. And an accession of the precious 
metals in aid of the circulation of the country, and of the prosecution of the 
war in the Peninsula, would have procured for the Company a popularity, 
at all times useful, but at the present moment essential to their best in- 
terests. A supply of treasure to the extent of Lord Minto’s promise (made 
previously to the receipt of our orders by the Acteon ), in conjunction with our 
claims on Government, on account of expenses incurred in the capture of the 
French and Dutch Islands, and the large remittances in cash to the Mau- 
ritius, would have amounted to so large a sum, that the additional aid re- 
quired to enable us to meet our difficulties, would have been small in com- 
parison with that for which it will now be necessary to apply.” — [Private 
Correspondence of the Deputy* Chairman of the East India Company , March , 
1812 .] 


nication with Mr. Tucker, on whom they knew they 
could rely, and urged him immediately on his arrival 
to press upon the Governor-General the necessity of 
shipping the bullion without delay. u The object 
of this letter,” wrote the Deputy-Chairman to Mr. 
Tucker, “ is to induce you, knowing as you do the 
host of enemies with whom we have to contend on 
the renewal of the Charter, and fully sensible as you 
must be of the ill effects the disappointment has 
produced upon the general state of our affairs, to 
impress upon Lord Minto’s mind the necessity of 
relieving, at the earliest possible period, our home 
funds from the existing pressure, to the extent, at 
least, of his promises, or of what we have directed in 

the despatches now sent out I wished and 

endeavored to see you previously to your departure 
for India ; but before I could accomplish it, I found 
that you had left Town. I have therefore troubled 
you in this way, in the hope that on your arrival 
there, you may, by reporting from your own observa- 
tion our actual situation, stimulate the Government 
to suitable exertions for our relief.” 

A few months afterwards,* the same correspon- 
dent, who had then succeeded to the Chair, wrote 
still more emphatically on the subject in a private 
letter to Mr. Tucker : 

“ You will have learnt that no bullion has been sent to us 
from India, and but a small amount from China. You, who 
were acquainted with our wants and our expectations, will feel 
for our disappointment, which is not alone confined to the 

September, 1812 . 

T 2 



Company. The Public and the Government participate in it. 
Silver is wanted for the current circulation of the country ; and 
Government is distressed to find the means of making remit- 
tances to pay our gallant armies in the Peninsula, and for other 

44 From India we had reason to expect a large supply, not 
only in consequence of the orders sent from hence, but in fulfil- 
ment of a promise to remit in bullion to the amount of the drafts 
that might be made from Bombay ; but instead of making good 
this engagement, we are told, and with the utmost indifference, 
that it has been found necessary to stop the advances for our 
Investment, and to draw down from the Provincial Treasuries 
the balances, to relieve the more urgent wants of the Govern- 
ment at Calcutta. At this very time we find loans to a very 
considerable amount had been made to relieve the distresses of 
individuals, not recollecting that the very existence of the Com- 
pany might depend upon our Home Treasury being supported, 
either by bullion or investment; but better by both. 

44 At a period like the present, when it was known to our 
Governments that the Company’s Charter was coming under dis- 
cussion, when we stood in need of every aid to meet the heavy 
pressure on our Home Treasury from the mass of bills from 
India, it was not unreasonable to expect great and extraordinary 
exertions on their parts; had they even set the example of 
taking such part of their salaries as was not absolutely necessary 
for their current expenses, it would have shown an anxiety to 
assist the Company in this crisis of their affairs. 

44 1 know it will be said the want of money in India has been 
occasioned by the large supplies to the expeditions against the 
French and Dutch Islands, and for their support; and that we 
have claims on the Government at home for reimbursement. 
It is true we have; but the Governments in India have not put 
us in a way to substantiate these claims, by furnishing us with 
clear and detailed statements, such as will enable us to make our 
case good in Parliament. We have no such accounts; and 
must beg as a boon what we are entitled to as a right. 

44 The Court have given their sentiments on the foregoing 
subject, and pretty fully, in a finance letter which goes by this 


ship. It was withheld to the last moment, in the hope of some 
satisfactory explanations or information from the Governments 
of India, that would have rendered such a letter unnecessary.” 

At this time Mr. Tucker was busying himself in 
Calcutta to provide the much-coveted bullion-sup- 
plies. With characteristic promptitude and energy 
he threw himself into the work. He had not, in- 
deed, been many days in Calcutta, before he wrote 
to Lord Minto,* that “not a moment should be 
lost in commencing operations and proceeded to 
show what was to be done : 

“Mr. Egerton,” he said, “will call down immediately to 
the General Treasury all our surplus funds in the Provincial 
Treasuries; and I apprehend there will be no difficulty in 
remitting from hence to England twenty-four or twenty-five 
lakhs of rupees (fifteen lakhs in Furruckabad rupees, and ten 
lakhs in gold), which, with a remittance of five lakhs of 
pagodas from Madras, ought to realise 500,000/. sterling. Mr. 
Egerton has written to Mr. Garrow to prepare himself; and 
your Lordship will, no doubt, adopt the proper means to 
obtain a conveyance for the treasure, if it be not judged expe- 
dient to despatch it in one or more of the Company’s ships. 

“With respect to further supplies, I shall only state my in- 
dividual opinion, without pledging my friend Mr. Egerton — 
and it is, that an additional sum of 500,000/. may be sent from 
hence (or partly from hence, and partly from Bombay) in 
January next. This question, however, may well lie over for 
consideration, until we see the effect of the measures which it 
is proposed to pursue. 

“ It will not be practicable, I fear, to enter into the neces- 
sary explanations in reply to the late Financial despatch from 
the Honorable Court of Directors before the departure of the 
Sir W. Burroughs; but, if your Lordship approve, I can draft 

* August 3, 1812. 



a short letter, expressing deep regret at the disappointment 
which has been experienced — promising to furnish a detailed 
explanation of the causes by an early opportunity — and assur- 
ing the Honorable Court that a remittance of 500,000/. will be 
despatched as soon as a proper conveyance can be provided ; 
and that the further sum of 500,000/. will be despatched in 
January, if possible. Your Lordship will, I conclude, write to 
the authorities at home ; and I propose also to give all the in- 
formation in my power to Sir H. Inglis, with whom I shall 
correspond regularly on this subject.” 

It need not be said that these efforts gave great 
satisfaction to the Company, or that the result 
was still more acceptable in Leadenliall-street. The 
treasure sent home by Mr. Tucker arrived at an 
opportune season, and was soon on its way to the 
Peninsula. In March, 1813, his friend and corre- 
spondent, the Chairman, Sir Hugh Inglis, wrote to 
him : 

“ The bullion you sent by the Modeste came most a propos 
both for the Company and for the public, as I have reason to 
believe the whole of it is gone or going to the Peninsula, where 
it is very much wanted for the payment of the troops, and the 
general support of the army. The further remittances in 
bullion will be most welcome, as they will be the means of 
placing the Company on better ground than they have occupied 
for some years past, especially if you can realise the expectation 
you give of sending, in addition to the 700,000/., an anticipa- 
tion of 250,000/. of next year’s remittance. The aid derived, 
and to be derived from the bullion remittances, and the money 
due by Government for the advances made by the India Govern- 
ments on account of the Expeditions, would have enabled us to 
have gone through this year without any Loan from the public, 
had we been able to keep our Bonds in circulation; but, unfor- 
tunately, they have been paid in upon our sales to such an 
amount as renders an application indispensable for a credit to 
the extent of 2,500,000/., though I hope, when our affairs come 



before Parliament, some arrangements will be made so as to 
raise our credit, and to restore confidence in our paper, and by 
that means render unnecessary, at least for this year, the credit 
we solicit.” 

If Mr. Tucker’s previous services had not entitled 
him to a seat in Council, he had now fairly earned 
one. And there were honest, unprejudiced Directors 
in the Court, foremost amongst whom was Sir Hugh 
Inglis, a man of undoubted integrity and ability, 
who, thinking only of the interests of the public 
service, were eager to support his nomination to 
a provisional seat in the Government. But Mr. 
Tucker had his enemies in the Court, and the ap- 
pointment was not carried : 

“ Before I left the Direction,” wrote the late Chairman, at 
the end of April, 1813, “I had the pleasure of hearing of the 
second supply of bullion which came by the President , and by 
private letters I learnt that there were considerable sums on 
board the regular ships which Admiral Stopford had left at St. 
Helena. Though I considered the former supply by the Modeste, 
this by the President , and what we have further to receive, to 
be owing to your exertions, yet I am sorry to say, I found it 
impossible to accomplish what on public grounds I was most 
anxious to do — to nominate you a Provisional Counsellor. 

“Mr. Thompson would inform you of the result, which I 
assuredly did not contemplate when I gave notice of my inten- 
tion to propose you for the situation; but I have reason to 
believe that my intentions were frustrated by a most active 
canvass made by the friends of a gentleman of higher standing 
in the service than you; and when the time for decision came, 

I found several on whom I had depended, and even some that 
1 considered your personal friends, were against me. Under 
these circumstances, I thought it more creditable to you to let 
the business pass without any one being appointed. I hope this 
circumstance will not induce you to leave India next January, 



as in one of your letters you intimated that it was your intention 
to do; for I shall consider it a serious calamity if the Company 
are deprived of your most able services.” 

To Mr. Tucker, who had the strongest private 
reasons for wishing speedily to return to England — 
for the health of his beloved wife was failing — this 
was no disappointment. Indeed, he had ceased to 
think of official promotion — content still to do his 
duty, though in a subordinate capacity, in that De- 
partment to which he had so long been attached, 
and in which he had no competitor. 

Indeed, there was much work for him still in this 
old Department of Finance. The Financial history 
of India is a history of Reactions. So it appeared, 
when Mr. Davis, who had been Accountant-General, 
and who, on his final return to England, had been 
elected a Member of the Court of Directors, wrote to 
Mr. Tucker in May, 1813 : “ You individually have 
great credit with the Court for the exertion the 
Governments of Bengal and Madras have made to 
send home the money-remittance; but I fear the 
strain has been to an extent that may he felt in your 
Finance Department. As to sending home an equal 
amount in the current year, or indeed making any 
similar remittance to England, until you are in a 
condition very different from what you were at the 
date of your last letter, I hope the Government 
abroad and the Court here will think it quite out 
of the question.” And Mr. Davis was right. The 
strain upon the Indian Treasuries had been too great. 
And in a little while it was announced that whilst 



the home Treasury was in a plethoric state — princi- 
pally owing to the gorging effects of some lucky sales 
— the Indian Treasuries were in a state of collapse. 

Indeed, before the middle of 1814i, by which time 
Lord Moira had succeeded to the chief seat in the 
Government of India, there appeared to be strong 
symptoms of something like a Financial crisis. In 
May, Mr. Tucker wrote to Mr. Newnham, then 
Secretary at Bombay, giving a lamentable picture of 
the state of the Finances at the Chief Presidency. 
“ To give your Government,” he said, “ an un- 
limited credit on Bengal, as heretofore, might sub- 
ject us to great inconvenience. The bills which you 
drew about the end of last year, coming upon us as 
they did with other unexpected demands, had nearly 
reduced us to absolute bankruptcy. Our disburse- 
ments from the General Treasury alone in December 
and January last, amounted to 1,20,00,000 rupees, 
and during several days we had only 7 or 8,00,000 
rupees in our Treasury. It is extremely hazardous 
just now to sail in such shallow water ; and it re- 
quired every effort to extricate ourselves at the period 
alluded to. You must be sensible that any derange- 
ment here would be felt in every money cha nn el 
throughout India ; and when financial derangement 
once takes place, it is not very easy to restore 

The Governor-General, who had started on a 
visitation-tour through the Upper Provinces, soon 
became painfully conscious of this disagreeable fact. 
The scarcity of money stared him in the face at 



every turn. “ The grievous want of money through- 
out the country,” he wrote to Mr. Tucker, “ operates 
most mischievously against the interests of Govern- 
ment and the comfort of the inhabitants. The de- 
fault of culture in the lands, through the inability 
of the Ryot to command the slender advances neces- 
sary for working it, and the insufficiency of the 
Zemindar to aid him, strikes the eye painfully at 
every step. It is only in the vicinity of some Euro- 
pean, competent to furnish such assistance to the 
peasantry around him, that one sees any justice done 
to the soil — and it is to that inadequate relief alone 
that we must give the credit for the matters not 
being much worse. The dissemination of some 
amount of cash in a district is necessary to repair 
the constant drain made to Calcutta.” 

In this emergency it was necessary to look abroad 
for some extraordinary source of supply ; and it is 
no insignificant proof of the real perplexity of Go- 
vernment at this period, that so practised a Finan- 
cier as Mr. Tucker could think of no better aid, in 
the difficult conjuncture that had arisen, than a loan 
from a native Prince. Towards tlie end of July, he 
wrote to the Governor-General : 


“ My Lord, — .... I have the satisfaction to inform 
your Lordship that we have lately advanced the further sum of 
ten lakhs of rupees on account of the Investment; but I am 
apprehensive that we must now suspend our operations. The 
balance of the General Treasury has been much reduced ; the 
collections in the Lower Provinces are now at a stand; and 



we have thought it prudent to discontinue our drafts on the 
Western Provinces, as your Lordship may, eventually, require 
large funds in that quarter. We depend, in fact, just now, upon 
the salt revenue, for the supply of our General Treasury; and 
if the Honorable Court of Directors should grant bills on this 
Government in favor of individuals, (as I have reason to think 
they have done, or will do,) we shall find it very difficult, and 
perhaps impracticable, to provide for this, and other demands, 
from our ordinary resources. 

“ It has occurred to me, therefore, that it may be necessary to 
look abroad for some extraordinary source of supply ; and as 
the late event in Oude might be supposed to open a prospect in 
that quarter, I consulted with Mr. Edmonstone yesterday on 
the subject. He is naturally averse to any step which might 
compromise the character of our Government in the minds of 
our neighbours, and of our own subjects, and he thinks that 
if we applied for a loan to the Newaub so immediately after 
his accession to the Government, it would be regarded by the 
natives, and perhaps by himself, as a consideration exacted for 
our services. The weight of this objection will be best esti- 
mated by your Lordship ; but if it can be got over, we certainly 
should find it very convenient to obtain a supply of fifty to 
eighty lakhs of rupees at the present period. The accommodation 
would not, however, be very material if the loan ■were granted 
only for a short time; and should your Lordship see reason to 
entertain the proposition, I would beg to suggest that the sum 
which his Highness may be disposed to advance, be received as 
a subscription to our present six-per-cent, loan; and that the 
interest be made payable half-yearly or quarterly, by assign- 
ments on the treasuries of Rohilkund, or other treasuries in the 
Ceded Provinces. A strict Mussulman will not receive interest 
for money in its simple form ; but the most orthodox will, 
I believe, receive the produce cf money employed in trade; 
and I should imagine that any scruples of this kind might be 
overcome by granting an assignment on a particular province 
to the amount of the interest payable on the loan. If, indeed, 
the late Newaub should have made any disposition of his 
personal property in favor of the junior, or illegitimate, or 



female branches of his family, perhaps this might be found the 
most convenient and effectual mode of securing a permanent 
provision for them. 

“ Your Lordship will, I hope, excuse my travelling out of 
my record on this occasion, as I do not often step beyond the 
borders of my own immediate province. 

“ I have the honor to be, my Lord, 

u Your Lordship’s obedient, humble servant, 

“ H. St.George Tucker. 

u Calcutta, 23rd July, 1814.” 

The proposal was sanctioned by Lord Moira ; and 
Mr. Ricketts was instructed to negotiate the Loan. 
The scruples of the Newaub, if he had any, were 
overcome ; and he advanced a million of monev in 
the shape of a subscription to the six-per-cent, 
loan. Announcing this to his old friend Mr. Davis, 
Mr. Tucker enters at some length into the general 
politics of the times. What his political views 
were, may be gathered from the following letter. 
He had seen too much of financial embarrassment — 
financial embarrassment engendered by costly wars 
— not to tremble when he saw Lord Moira embark- 
ing in great military operations, and swallowing 
up the revenues of the State with something of a 
Wellesleyan appetite. The letter is a curious and 
suggestive one, if only on account of the glimpses 
which it affords of the strong opinions on Indian 
politics which he afterwards entertained, and the 
emphatic manner in which he expressed them : 


“Calcutta, 12th Nov., 1814. 

“Dear Davis, — Since I wrote to you on the 4th instant 
we have received official advice from Lord Moira of his having 


obtained a crore of rupees on loan from tbe Newaub of Oude, 
one moiety of which is to be received immediately, and the 
other moiety on the 1st March. The money is to be paid in 
as a subscription to the six-per-cent, loan ; and this is obviously 
the best footing on which we could have obtained it- Some 
special arrangement is to be made with regard to the payment 
of the interest, with a view, as I conceive, to obviate Mussul- 
man scruples. 

“We lost no time here in calling upon Egerton to report on 
the best mode of disposing of our superfluities; and his letter is 
at present in circulation. We shall, I hope, commence im- 
mediately on the payment of debt; and although there are 
some serious contingencies impending, I have urged that we 
should discharge the Bombay eight-per-cent, debt, with a small 
amount of six per cent, standing before it on the Register, 
amounting together to 54,56,000 rupees. We shall begin to ad- 
vertise next week; and the operation will, I trust, be completed 
by the 30th of April. Two objects will be gained by it. We 
shall raise the value of our paper, and supply the houses of 
business with funds. They arc the principal holders of the 
paper which will be paid off; and it is on every account much 
better to assist them in this way, for whenever wc send them 
money there is difficulty and dissatisfaction experienced when 
the day of payment arrives. 

“ With this loan from the Newaub we should have per- 
formed glorious service, if we could have ventured to bring all 
our resources into action ; but, not content with our Nepaul ex- 
pedition, we are, I find, meditating other projects which may 
involve us in a general war. I have seen nothing of the cor- 
respondence, and I have heard but little on the subject, so that 
my opinion cannot have any solid foundation. I do think, 
however, that, while the whole of our disposable force is 
employed on our Northern frontier, it would have been as 
prudent to allow affairs to remain in tranquillity to the South. 
But then I shall be told, an opportunity presents itself which 
may never again occur. What is this opportunity ? The 
Newaub of Bhopaul and the Chief of Snugor are threatened 
by Laindicli and the Rajah of Berar. Now, by fixing our- 



selves in the little principality of Bhopaul, we shall gain a 
fulcrum, from which we may sweep away or smash the Pin- 
darries, and drive a subsidiary treaty down the throat of the 
Berar Rajah. Saugor, too, is a fine central point, round which 
we may draw certain magic circles for promoting the success 
of the same object. 

u This may be all very good; but I say we must be dotards 
if we cannot make as good an opportunity at any time. When 
did ambition ever want opportunities for developing itself? 
We must be downright bunglers if we cannot find at any mo- 
ment an excuse for interfering in the affairs of Hindostan and 
the Dekhun, disturbed as they are at present with jarring 

“ And what, after all, is the end proposed? I asked a friend 
of mine, whom you esteem as much as I do, ‘ Do you propose 
to hang up the Pindarries at the nearest tree ? Do you expect 
by hard blows at once to effect a change in their character and 
habits of life? Do you intend to give them employment in 
your service, or to bestow on them, otherwise, the means of 
subsistence?’ The answer was, ‘ We think it necessary to pre- 
vent their future incursions into our territory, and for this pur- 
pose it is necessary to expel them from the position which they 
have occupied on the line of the Nerbuddah.’ 

“ I do not mean to say that it is not desirable to do this and 
many other things ; but I do think that these plunderers are 
likely to be less troublesome when they obtain some territorial 
footing; and I am quite satisfied that, extend your frontier as 
far as you please, you will be liable always to have troublesome 
neighbours, whom it will not be quite convenient to annihilate. 
Annihilate you must, in pretty round numbers, if you are de- 
termined that no soldiers of fortune shall remain in any part 
of India. 

“As for subsidiary treaties, I am sick of the very term. 
Lord Wellesley was for firing off these treaties at every man 
with a blunderbuss; but I had hoped that there was an end of 
these forcible operations. After sacrificing, too, a little repu- 
tation to the object of extricating ourselves from a connexion 
with the petty states of Hindostan, I did not certainly expect 



that we should volunteer our services to support the Newaub 
of Bhopaul, or the Chief of Saugor. The mischief is, that the 
frequent change of our statesmen in this country must cause a 
change of measures, and even of principles. What must the 
natives think of our maxims of policy, when we one day break a 
treaty with the Rajah of Jeypore because we wish to withdraw 
from foreign connexions — and the next, form a treaty with the 
Newaub of Bhopaul, for a directly contrary reason ? I am no 
politician myself; and I know that the idea of justice and 
morality in politics is matter of ridicule; — but, justice and 
morality out of the question, I cannot perceive the policy of 
our engaging more deeply in the affairs of Hindostan. Our 
military power is so formidable, that we are not likely to be 
attacked; and as for the Pindarries — it would be quite suffi- 
cient, I think, to beat them down whenever they presumed to 
show themselves in the neighbourhood of our territory. De- 
fensive precautions might have cost us a few thousands or hun- 
dred thousands annually; but a war with the Mahratta States 
will cost us more than I would venture to estimate. For- 
tunately, they are not very well prepared, and they are not very 
enterprising, or they might at this moment — when our southern 
frontier is completely ungarnished of troops — sweep through 
the Doaub, and levy contributions within the sacred limits of 
Benares. We common men can only say, ‘ let the General 
look to that/ .... 

“ Farewell — with best wishes, believe me 

“ Very sincerely yours, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ P.S. 14 th Nov. — The difficulties of our Nepaulese enterprise 
are beginning to show themselves even sooner than I had appre- 
hended. An express has just been received, announcing that 
General Gillespie had been repulsed and killed in an attempt 
to carry Kalounga by assault. We have lost, it is said, about 
400 men, killed and wounded, and I fear a large proportion of 
Europeans and officers. This is a very inauspicious commence- 
ment ; but we are now fairly in for the service, and must go on. 
What an opportunity for the Mahrattas, while we are knocking 



our heads against these mountains ; but they are, I trust, in too 
distracted a state to avail themselves of it. Ought we to give sucli 
opportunities unnecessarily? and is there wisdom in provoking 
one neighbour, while we are endeavoring to subdue another ? 
These are very simple questions, no doubt, and it would be silly 
almost to propose them, if our conduct did not justify them. 
This first failure may possibly have a good effect in inducing 
Lord Moira to withdraw from his southern projects ; and, in 
fact, I am not so much afraid of the Nepaulese as I am of our 
southern neighbours. The former may repulse us; but they 
cannot follow up their success. They have no description of 
force which could act with effect on the plains ; and they are 
not, therefore, formidable in offensive operations against us. 
The force which might assail us from the south, is of a character 
directly opposite. I shall not be surprised if Lord M. should 
now be induced to take the field, especially if our difficulties 
should increase upon us. There is a little of the romantic in 
his character, and I think he will like to take a part, if there 
should be any serious work on hand. This may be all very 
right ; but what I object to is, that he should have made such 
work for himself without a necessity. I already look upon our 
crore of rupees as upon a departed spirit. Our financial opera- 
tions will, I fear, be suspended, although I shall myself vote for 
getting rid of our eight per cents, at all hazards. There are 
more crores in the same coffers, if we should be much at a loss ; 
and we may repay them with the sovereignty of Nepaul, if we 
should succeed in conquering it. I am only surprised that any 
individual should prefer war to peace, after the example of the 
Fiench Emperor. 

“Farewell, sincerely yours, 

“ H. St.G. T.” 

From the military operations in which Lord 
Hastings had embarked, Mr. Tucker had too much 
reason to anticipate the most calamitous financial 
results ; but he afterwards acknowledged that the 
evils which he predicted had been fortunately 


averted. “ The Marquis of Hastings,” he wrote 
ten years afterwards, “ unquestionably left the Fi- 
nances of India in a most flourishing condition. 
Hostilities had been carried on, upon an extensive 
scale, without causing any very large addition to be 
made to the public burdens.” A sum of about a 
million of money “ received from the King of Oude, 
for the sale of Kyraghur, reduced the military charge 
of 1815-16. Large consignments of bullion were 
also received from England, remitted from the 
‘Surplus Fund of Commercial Profit;’ and these 
tended materially to prevent the increase of debt, 
and to facilitate all the financial operations of the 
Government abroad.” “ Still,” added Mr. Tucker, 
“ it is but just to Lord Hastings to notice, that his 
Lordship’s military expenditure, as compared Avitli 
that in the preceding Mahratta war, was very mo- 
derate, as was shoAvn by the Commissary-General. 
This is to be ascribed, partly to the establishment of 
an efficient Commissariat by Sir George Hewett, 
during the administration of Lord Minto — partly to 
the extent of our pecuniary resources, Avliich enabled 
the Government to discharge the irregular troops 
the moment their services were no longer wanted ; 
and partly to the strict attention paid by Lord Has- 
tings to economy in his military dispositions as 
Commander-in-Chief.” * 

But the time was fast approaching when Mr. 
Tucker’s ministerial connexion witli the Finances of 
India — indeed with all the official business of the 

* Review of the Financial situation of the East India Company in 1824 . 




State — was permanently to cease. The health of 
his wife had been, for some time, declining. The 
climate manifestly did not agree with her constitu- 
tion. She had more than once been prostrated by 
fever, so severe and exhausting, that Mr. Tucker 
had trembled for her life. It was in no small mea- 
sure owing to his unremitting care and attention— 
to the love which took no account of fatigue, to the 
almost womanly tenderness and patience with which 
he watched by her sick bed, and ministered to her 
wants, that, under Providence, she was enabled to 
struggle through these fearful maladies. But his 
apprehensions of the too great danger of another 
such attack, moved him to prepare for his final 
departure from India. There was nothing in the 
country — no wealth, no honor, that it could yield — 
to tempt him to incur so terrible a risk. 

These years, indeed, of his second visit to India, 
had not been years of unclouded happiness. The 
death of his niece, and the repeated illnesses of his 
wife, had tried h i m sorely in the furnace of affliction. 
But another great sorrow had also been dispensed to 
him. In the course of 1814 tidings reached him of 
the death of his beloved mother. When he opened 
the letter announcing this mournful event, he was 
moved as he had never been before. Habituated as 
he was to self-control, he gave way to a paroxysm of 
grief; threw himself into a chair, wept aloud, and 
for a time was not to be comforted. 

But in the domestic history of most men there 
are blessed compensations. Henry St.George Tucker 



was now parentless ; but he had become a parent. 
His mother had lived long enough to congratulate 
him on the birth of his first-born. It was such 
congratulation, too, as delights the soul of the reci- 
pient. “May the child,” she wrote, “in every re- 
spect resemble his parents ; and be as great a com- 
fort to them, as our beloved Henry has been to us.” 
Alike by Father and by Mother had this praise been 
often uttered before ; and most merited, indeed, was 
the laudation. He had been the prop and the solace 
of their declining years. From the fruits of his toil 
ho had contributed largely to the comforts of their 
home. His generosity was that true generosity of 
the heart which blesses alike the giver and the 
receiver, and never makes bounty burdensome. 
It is to be hoped that filial piety is not rare. The 
gracious privilege of paying back in maturity the 
care and kindness lavished upon the child may 
not be vouchsafed to many ; but for the honor of 
human nature we would fain assume that when 
vouchsafed it is seldom rejected. It is an error in 
Biography to claim for each individual quality com- 
mented upon, something peculiar to the possessor. If 
there were not a peculiar combination of qualities, 
there would be little for the Biographer to record. 
But the peculiarity resides in the combination, not 
in the individual virtues. Bare qualities are one 
thing ; a rare character is another. 

The thought of all these gaps in the family circle 
may have done something to moderate the intensity 
of Mr. Tucker’s yearnings after home; but the 



health of his wife was a paramount consideration, 
and before the close of 1814s, he had come to the reso- 
lution of removing her to a milder climate. Official 
advancement was then within his reach ; but he was 
indifferent about it. The Court of Directors had 
disapproved of the creation of the new appointment 
bestowed upon Mr. Tucker, and in a letter most flat- 
tering to the incumbent himself, had directed the 
abolition of the office.* “With respect to the pro- 
posed arrangement,” wrote Mr. Tucker at the end 
of October, “ as it may affect me individually, I have 
little to say. During the short period in which I 
am likely to remain in India, I shall be glad to do 
all in my power to promote the public service ; but 
I have no wish or intention to continue long in that 
service, and the abolition of my present office would 
not, therefore, give me any concern. The Colonies 
cannot well be transferred for six or eight months, 
and beyond that period I shall not be disposed to 
retain the office, whatever may be the disposition of 
the Court of Directors, or of this Government.” But 
before definite instructions for the abolition of the 
Colonial Secretaryship had been received, Mr. 
Tucker was promoted to a higher office. The 

* “ We entertain,” wrote the Court of Directors, “ a very high opinion of the 
abilities and zeal of Mr. Tucker, and we are satisfied that you could have 
selected no one of our servants who would discharge the duties confided to 
him with more advantage to the public service; but we cannot, under the 
actual state of our Finances, approve of your having incurred this additional 
expense; and we direct that the office be discontinued upon the receipt of this 
despatch. We, however, recommend Mr. Tucker to particular attention, when 
any office may fall vacant suitable to his rank and claims in the service.”— For 
the Indian Government’s justification of this appointment, see a document in 
the Appendix. 



Chief Secretary, Dowdeswell, succeeded to a seat 
in Council; and Mr. Tucker was appointed Chief 
Secretary to Government in his place. 

On the 28th of December, 1814, this appointment 
passed Council. On the following day Mr. Tucker 
wrote privately to his friend Edmonstone, who was 
then Yice-President : “You already know that the 
state of Mrs. Tucker’s health requires a change of 
climate ; hut instead of passing the hot weather at 
Chittagong, as I had proposed, it is my intention to 
proceed to the Cape of Good Hope, or St. Helena, 
and eventually to England ; and it is proper that I 
should give you the earliest intimation of this inten- 
tion.” Soon afterwards he sent in a formal applica- 
tion for leave to proceed with his family to the Cape 
of Good Hope or St. Helena, in the Honorable Com- 
pany’s ship Marchioness of Ely, and to be absent 
from the duties of his office for a period of six 
months from the date of his embarkation. And on 
the 10th of February, 1815, the leave he sought was 
officially granted. 

And so they bade adieu to India. They sailed for 
the Cape in the Marchioness of My ; and eventually 
went on to England. The health of Mrs. Tucker 
improved under the influence of the sea- voyage; 
but it was thought advisable to proceed onward, 
that the invalid might enjoy the benefit of a re- 
turn to the climate of her native home. So Mr. 
Tucker despatched from St. Helena a formal re- 
signation of his appointment, and returned to his 
ship-board cabin. The passage was a long and a 



fatiguing one ; and it was not until the month of 
August that they sighted the white coast of Great 

He had now made up his mind to retire altogether 
from the active service of the Company. He was in 
his forty-fifth year. He had served the State in 
various capacities for nearly thirty years; and he 
had amassed a moderate fortune. The Government 
of Java was designed for him; but he had seen 
enough of Eastern life, and desired nothing more 
than rest, domestic enjoyment, and literary leisure. 
All these were now within his reach ; and he was 
abundantly content. 

On his arrival in London he waited upon the 
Indian authorities, and was received by them with 
marked consideration. He had much information 
to impart, and the exposition of his views on the 
great political questions of the day was listened to 
with the greatest respect. To his friend Mr. Ed- 
monstone he wrote in October, with especial re- 
ference to his conversations with Lord Buckingham- 
shire, who then presided at the Board of Control. 
He had by this time quitted the southern metropolis, 
and was on a visit to his friends in the North : 


“Oaverse, 1st October, 1815. 

“ Dear Edmonstone, — I ought to have written to you 
much sooner; but a man arriving in a new country finds 
abundance to do, and what is worse, he finds strong induce- 
ments to be idle. 

“This was my case; and I am apprehensive that the habits 



of idleness are not likely to be dissipated, now that I have 
really nothing to do, unless I choose to cull flowers, or to make 
verses on cows, sheep, and other Arcadian objects ! 

“ On my arrival in London, I of course waited on the Indian 
authorities, and I had a long interview with Lord Bucking- 
hamshire, who seemed to be very anxious to obtain information 
regarding the state of affairs in India. I gave his Lordship 
the best information I could ; and I gave also my own opinion 
on questions which were proposed to me. Lord B. was also 
very desirous of knowing your opinions on particular points ; 
and although it was a very delicate office to undertake, I did 
not hesitate in stating what I believed to be your sentiments 
on some of our late measures. The necessity for the Nepaulese 
war seems to be very generally admitted ; but our proceedings 
to the south are quite incomprehensible to all parties, as well 
those who possess information, as those who are debarred access 
to the official documents. You will be surprised to hear that 
the great majority of the Directors are in the latter class, the 
secret correspondence being withheld from them ; and even 
Davis, one of the most active and intelligent of the corps, had 
never heard of your controversial minutes with Lord Moira, 
until I mentioned them to him. 

“ I was particularly glad that I had seen these documents; 
for I took occasion to refer Lord Buckinghamshire to them, 
and had the satisfaction to find that they were quite familiar to 
his Lordship, although unknown to Davis. Lord B. spoke 
of them as being most able productions ; and I can assure you 
that your public character is justly appreciated, both at the 
Board of Control and in Leadenhall-street. I had some diffi- 
culty in satisfying Mr. Reid, the Deputy Chairman, that you 
could not possibly have accompanied the Governor-General on 
his tour ; for he, Mr. 11., was disposed to attribute all our em- 
barrassments to your having remained behind — an opinion in 
which ho is not, I fancy, quite singular. 

“ In venturing to state what I believed to be your opinions, I 
of course took care to observe as much delicacy as possible 
towards Lord Moira. On the main question, I stated distinctly 
that, desirable as you considered it that effectual means should 



be taken to suppress the Pindarries, you were of opinion that no 
decisive step should be taken with a view to this object until a 
reply should be received to the reference which had been made 
to the public authorities at home; and that, whatever judgment 
might be formed with regard to the projected connexion with 
the principalities of Bhopaul and Saugor, you were of opinion 
that the agitation of these questions was unseasonable and unfor- 
tunate. On the employment of irregular corps, and some other 
minor points, I could speak from public documents, and I ran 
no risk, therefore, of mis-stating your opinions. My own I 
gave, as I usually do on such occasions, with no other re- 
serve than what consideration towards others suggests as being 

“ I urged on Lord Buckinghamshire the expediency and the 
necessity of your being furnished immediately with a supply of 
bullion, to enable you to pay your army, and to keep faith with 
the public creditors; and his Lordship appeared to be so im- 
pressed with this necessity, that he despatched a messenger to 
the Admiralty, while I was with him, to expedite the equip- 
ment of the frigate; but some assurance had been given that 
the seamen should have liberty to spend their money, and it 
was found that not a single ship could be manned while a 
guinea remained. A large supply of money will, however, be 
sent both to China and India, for the Directors have about 
two millions sterling in their Treasury almost in a state of in- 

“ I insisted at the India House, with little success, that the 
money destined for China should all be consigned to you ; but 
they will not trust you further than is necessary, and they 
seem not at all confident that what they may send will be 
applied to the proper object. Your Lucknow Loans have done 
you good service; and they will, I hope, carry you fairly 
through the present year; but this cannot be looked to as an 
every-day resource, and I am not quite certain that your pos- 
sessing such a resource has been regarded with much exultation 
at the India House. 

“You will, I think, have been a little surprised at their 
* having abolished my office of Secretary ; but Lord Bucking- 



hamshire informed me that I was intended for the Government 
of Java, and that he had written to Lord Moira to appoint me 
to it. I thanked his Lordship, but told him it was an honor 
which I must have declined, and that I had quitted India with 
no intention of ever returning to it. 

“ The Lumsden and Davis families are your only con- 
nexions whom I met in London; and as they correspond with 
you, I shall leave them to give an account of themselves. 
Lumsden is canvassing for the Direction, and with every 
prospect of success, for his character, public and private, is well 
known, and he will, I hope, be supported at the India House 
and by Lord Buckinghamshire. He must, however, wait an- 
other year before he is considered qualified for this high 

“ Believe me ever, with great esteem, 

“ Very sincerely yours, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“P.S.— I pass the winter in Edinburgh; but prepare to 
return to England with my family early in spring.” 




Residence in Edinburgh — Journey to London — Adventures on the Road — 
Residence in London — Excursion in Wales— Visit to Ireland —Thoughts of 
Public Life. 

Settled with his wife and children, and surrounded 
by the relatives of the former, in the Scottish capi- 
tal, Mr. Tucker now found himself for the first time 
in the full enjoyment of the literary leisure for 
which he had so often sighed. He was an enthu- 
siast after knowledge of all kinds ; and now day after 
day he was to he seen, at the age of forty-five, at- 
tending the lectures of the Edinburgh professors — of 
Hope, Playfair, and others — with as much ardor 
as the most ambitious of the youthful students who 
sate in the class beside him. The lecture over, he 
seldom failed to hurry off to St. Andrew’s and to 
St. George’s-square, to pay a visit to Mrs. Boswell 
and to Mrs. Carre — a visit always looked for and 
always enjoyed, for he had truly become to the latter 
an affectionate brother, and to the former a dutiful 




In the society of the neighbourhood he mixed, 
but with becoming moderation. He had many 
friends and many connexions in Edinburgh, and he 
delighted to see them assembled at his own hospi- 
table board. This was the convivial intercourse 
which pleased him best ; for it gratified at once his 
social propensities and his affection for home. 

But this pleasant life was broken in upon by an 
event of a painful nature, arising out of the circum- 
stances of a near relative, which compelled his pre- 
sence in London. The business was of so distressing 
a nature, and the anxiety it occasioned him was so 
great, that during the two or three days which pre- 
ceded his departure there was a marked change in 
his appearance. A worn and harassed look beto- 
kened the intensity of the inward struggle. He set 
put under great depression of spirits, in the midst of 
a violent snow-storm, although it was in the middle 
of the month of May. 

The excitement of the journey to the South seems 
in some measure to have restored his composure ; 
and he wrote cheerfully from Newark an amusing 
account of his travels across the Border. In those 
days a man, between Edinburgh and London, might 
meet with adventures sufficient to fill a volume, and 
companions enough to stock a portfolio with their 
portraits. I shall devote this chapter to private 
affairs, and leave Mr. Tucker’s family letters to 
carry on the story of his life. His journey to Lon- 
don, and his residence in the metropolis in 1816 , 
are the first incidents described : 



“ Newark, Tuesday, 6 o’clock jlm. 

44 My progress hitherto has been much like 

the ordinary progress of human life, sometimes smooth and 
pleasant, and occasionally rough and disagreeable enough. 
From Edinburgh to Berwick I had a companion who was com- 
pletely drunk, and who took care to renew the stimulus (al- 
though it was scarcely necessary) whenever the mail halted for 
a few minutes. From his conversation while asleep (for he 
was stupidly silent while awake), I discovered that he was a 
sailor, and probably the master of a Berwick smack, under 
whose good guidance I should be sorry to place myself. In 
his sleep he was very lively as well as talkative, and he began 
at one time to figure away with his feet at the roof of the mail ; 
but as I did not much admire his dancing, I took the liberty 
to interfere and put his legs in their proper place. Luckily he 
was good-humored in his cups, and he took my hints in good 
part; and on my presenting him with a few gingerbread-nuts 

(a present from Alexander) he gave me a most 

cordial invitation 4 to take pot-luck with him' at Berwick. As 
we did not arrive, however, until near midnight, the invitation 
would not have been very seasonable, even if the host had been 
in better condition to entertain his friends. 

44 Throughout the whole journey, as far as Newcastle, we had 
a violent storm of snow, rain, and sleet; and the cold was more 
severe than I have felt it during the winter. The coach was 
not wind-tight at the bottom; and as I was obliged to keep my 
window open to allow the escape of certain fumes, the produce 
of whisky, rum, and brandy, I felt the cold so pinching, that I 
should have been glad of Mrs. S.’s fur cap, and the Doctor’s 
capacious worsted stockings ; but as these were not at hand, 
and I was too lazy to look out for substitutes, the night was not 
passed quite so snugly as I have passed nights at Bonington 
and elsewhere. To aggravate the evil, I had not a decent com- 
panion to converse with. We picked up sundry vagabonds on 
the road ; but there was only one, between Edinburgh and 
York, who bore the slightest appearance of being a gentleman. 
The exception, too, a genteel-looking young man, who joined 



at Durham, was not a very valuable acquisition, for he was 
effeminate and affected. In addition to a great-coat, he had an 
immense surtout, resembling a Japan gown; and I was at no 
loss to discover that he was some spoilt child, whose mamma 
had shown more fondness than wisdom. He professed to be 
very fond of reading in the mail, (rather an odd taste,) and he 
told me he had got through two volumes on his last journey; 
but I suspect his reading on these occasions was not to much 
purpose, for I seldom turned towards him without catching 
him peeping from under his eye, in search of a little admira- 
tion. We had but one female in this part of the journey, 
whom I at first took to be a Quaker, but who afterwards proved 
to be a sturdy Jacobite. She was lamenting that we should 
have no oaA-leaves to w T ear on the 29th of May; and I, who 
neither recollected the origin of the custom nor the custom 
itself, stupidly observed that I was not aware of the motive for 
wearing oak-leaves on any particular day. ‘ Then, Sir,' said 
she, 4 you cannot be a Protestant I protested that I was a 
Protestant ; and even if I had been a Jew or a Turk, I could 
not discover the legitimacy of the lady’s inferences. 

44 As far as Newcastle, all was sterility and dreariness; and 
you may tell Mrs. S. that even as far as York I met with no- 
thing so summer-like as her garden. Not a rose was to be seen 
on the road; and if the hedges contained auriculas or violets, 
they were concealed in the snow. The country between New- 
castle and York was in an intermediate state, hesitating be- 
tween winter and spring; but as soon as you pass the latter 
city, the most beautiful verdure appears, and you find yourself 
really in England . The neat cottages then present themselves, 
and everything looks so cheerful and blooming, and rich and 
elegant, that you cannot doubt the fact of your having passed 
from the barren heaths of Scotland to a civilised country. 

“I reached York at about ten o’clock at night, and was not 
at all fatigued with the journey 

44 Here am I at the end of my first sheet, without having 
advanced beyond the city of York ; but from thence my journey 
has been much more pleasant. The weather has b6en delight- 



ful; ftnd in the ‘High Flyer 1 1 have been much more fortunate 
in my companions. The mall coachmen, I suspect, pick up any 
vagrants who can afford to give them a few shillings or pence 
to convey them a short distance; but in the High Flyer things 
were different. Our party consisted of a General Hunter and 
his son, a lieutenant in the 52nd Regiment, a major on the 
Madras establishment (I believe), whose face was very familiar 
to me, an Englishman from Aberdeen, who had metLumsdcn, 
and others of my acquaintance, a spruce citizen, and, for a short 
time, an honest, fat, Yorkshire yeoman. The Aberdeen man 
entered very soon into an argument with me on Finance; and 
not suspecting his opponent, he told me very bluntly that one 
part of my argument overset the other. I smiled at this; and, 
determining not to be whipped in my own school, I began a 
regular attack, called upon him to define his terms, then placed 
myself close along side ; and in the course of a very few broad- 
sides, I completely silenced his fire. I did not, however, wound 
his self-love by any undue exultation; and we parted the 
best friends possible. Indeed, he came up to shake hands 
with me on taking leave; and both he and my friend the 
major expressed great regret that I was not to continue the 
journey with them. This was no small compliment, consider- 
ing that the coach was crammed with six lusty fellows, all as 
fat as myself ! 

u On this part of the journey, too, we had only one female 
companion, and she remained with us only ten minutes. She was 
going to a fair at Tuxford; and that she might make her ap- 
pearance with eclat , she begged General Hunter to allow her to 
take his place in the inside. To this he, very good humouredly, 

“We had a great deal of pleasant conversation (luring this 
part of our journey; but the sketch which I have given of our 
party must content you for the present. We arrived at this place 
(a distance of seventy miles from York) between six and seven 
o’clock in the evening ; we all dined together, and I remained 
here, and passed a tolerable night. I got up this morning be- 
times to IRite to you; and after breakfast I shall resume my 



journey in the mail, and shall reach London, I expect, about 
five o’clock to-morrow morning 

“ . . . . Heaven bless and preserve you all; and may I 
find you all on my return as well and as happy as when I left 

“ Ever most affectionately yours, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 

“27, Leicester-square, May 16, 1816. 

“ . . . . I believe I gave you pretty nearly a complete 
journal of my travels. My Aberdeen acquaintance turns out to be 
Mr. Irvine of Drum , of a very old and opulent family in Aberdeen, 
and a very respectable, well-informed man. I took him for one 
of us ; and he was, perhaps, educated in England. The last stage 
of my journey from Newark was passed in a very comfortable 
manner. I had only two companions: the one an enormous 
fat man, who occupied one side of the carriage: the other, the 
son of a clergyman in Essex, who, although not very brilliant, 
appeared to be a decent, well-behaved man. Upon the ground 
of this appearance, I lent him two shillings to pay the coach- 
man at Huntingdon; but as the gentleman did not think it 
necessary to repay the debt, I began to waver in my opinion 
of him, and during the latter part of the journey I stood aloof. 
Mem . to insert in my Common-place Book — Never to volunteer 
the loan of money to entire strangers ; and if I should be more 
cautious in future, the lesson will not be purchased dearly at two 
shillings. I endeavored to recollect if I had drawn any in- 
formation from him, or acquired any other advantage from 
his company, to repay me for my shillings; but the only 
thing I can remember is his explanation of the origin of 
Wandsford being called 6 Wandsford in England 7 A peasant 
fell asleep on a stack of hay, and was carried into the river by 
a sudden flood. When he was at length picked up by the 
country people, he asked where he was ? They told him at 
Wandsford. 6 What, at Wandsford in England? Bless me — 
I thought I was gone abroad.’ This is scarcely wqjrth two 
shillings, although brother C. might make somethfSg of such 



materials. If he will take the bargain off my hands, let him 
give me two shillings, and he is welcome.” 

The date of the preceding letter shows that Mr. 
Tucker had taken up his quarters in Leicester- 
square, where, after considerable trouble, he had 
managed to secure lodgings. London was at this 
time unwontedly full — fuller even than it com- 
monly is, at this fullest season of the year. “ From 
about five o’clock to seven or eight,” he wrote on 
his arrival, “I was running about in search of a 
place of shelter for myself and my trunk. I was 
refused admittance at seven different hotels, both in 
the fashionable and unfashionable parts of the 
town.” A friend, however, had secured apartments 
for him, “none of the best,” and to these he 
betook himself, and set resolutely about his work. 
He had much to do besides the immediate business 
which had brought him to town. His letters written 
from Leicester-square, exhibit him now c alling at 
the India House and at the Board of Control* — 
now looking after his tenants at Crayford — now 
winding up the affairs of his deceased father, the 
Bermuda treasurer, and convincing the Audit Office 
of the correctness of the accounts —now advancing 
his brother’s interests at the Horse Guards — now 
visiting his old friend Sir G. Barlow — now dining 
with old schoolfellows, and after a lapse of thirty 
years being familiarly addressed by them as “ Harry ” 

* He wrote, however, very emphatically at this time, “ I do not mean to 
trouble myself with India matters; for I shall have trouble enough probably 
with my own concerns / 1 



— now attending the theatres and seeing Miss 
O’Neill and Edmund Kean — and now complain- 
ing that there was no good music to be heard at the 
Opera House : 

“ Leicester-square, 21st May, 1816 . 

“ I dined as I mentioned I should at the S ’s. In the 

evening, we had a rubber at whist ; and I was so lucky as to 
come off winner four shillings, a sum more than sufficient to 
pay for the dirtiest hackney coach I ever chanced to meet. 
My two schoolfellows were present ; and they seemed really 
glad to see me. It appeared strange, after the lapse of thirty 
years, to be called by them ‘Harry/ just as if we had lived 
together all the time. They both urged me to come and settle 
among them near Southampton, and they mentioned half a 
dozen charming places for sale in their neighbourhood, and all 
great bargains. What is to be done ? . . . . 

“ Tell sister M., with my kind love, that I saw her boys at 
C., and that I was well pleased with their appearance. I have 
not yet seen Mr. Colebrooke. 

“ I went yesterday to the Horse Guards, and had an inter- 
view with my friend Shawe, and with another of the Duke of 
York’s staff. From what they tell me, I think Charlton is 
pretty secure of his troop; but Shawe recommended that I 
should have an interview with Sir H. Torrens, the Military 
Secretary, and I am accordingly to see him this morning at 
two o’clock, after my return from the city. Shawe is very 
cordial; and it is satisfactory to find that you are not forgotten 
by your friends. 

“ I afterwards went to Somerset House, to call on Mr. M., 
the Auditor of the Exchequer, and I found my fathers ac- 
counts in a more promising state than I could well have ex- 
pected. They all acknowledge his extraordinary regularity 
and correctness; and there is not an item of the account which 
would not have been passed if he had lived to settle it. Even 
under every disadvantage, all the larger items will, I trust, be 
passed ; and those which cannot be admitted, from some defect 




of form* or from want of explanation, will not, I hope, amount 
to more than 501 . , a sum which I shall very readily pay, if 
necessary. The adjustment of the account will take place pro- 
bably in July next ; and I shall have the satisfaction of know- 
ing that you and our dear boy can never be troubled on the 
subject when I am no longer here to manage such concerns. 

“ I dined with L., and went afterwards to the play to see 
Miss O’Neill. She is certainly a good performer ; but the 
piece was not a good one (‘ The Jealous Wife *), and I was, upon 
the whole, rather disappointed. We came away before the 
farce was half over, for we were all sufficiently tired. I have 
little enjoyment now in the theatre ; and as Madame Catalini 
is abroad, I shall not probably go to the Opera.” 

“ Leicester- square, 23rd May, 1816. 

“ After writing to you on Saturday, I had a very busy day. 
I called twice on Mr. G. ; but I have never yet been so fortu- 
nate as to meet him. I next proceeded to the Board of 
Control; and left my card for Mr. Sullivan. There is no Pre- 
sident to the Board just now; and indeed* to prevent the possi- 
bility of any reference to me on business, I do not even leave 
my address on my cards. 

“ I then went to the Audit Office, to inquire into the state 
of my poor father’s accounts ; and I had a very satisfactory 
interview with Mr. Rawlinson, who, without any exception, is 
one of the most gentlemanly men of business I have ever met 
with in public life. I thought we were patterns in India ; but 
he is quite equal to the best of us. He seemed to take a per- 
♦ sonal interest in my concerns ; and he has put me in a way, 
I hope, of bringing the question to a final settlement. He took 
the trouble to go over and explain to me the different reports ; 
and if I find Mr. M., the auditor of the Treasury, equally ac- 
commodating, I foresee no further difficulties. At all events, if 
I do not succeed here, I shall write to Mr. G., or to Mr. L.* 
the joint secretaries ; and I have no doubt that the ultimate 
demand will be much reduced, if it be not altogether relin- 

“ At Chiselhurst I met C., and found them all tolerably well. 



Next day I rode over to Crayford. There I had the satisfaction 
to find our estate in the best possible condition, owing to the 
exertions of one of the sub-tenants, a gardener, who tells me 
that he has laid out 500/. on the cottage, and 700/. on the 
ground in his occupancy. He has, in fact, converted ten acres 
of the land into a beautiful garden ; and the tenants, I suppose, 
receive from him more than they have engaged to pay me 
. . . I walked over the estate, examined the cottage, &c., 

and looked as big and as important as any Scotch laird in the 
land ! The ride was pleasant, and the visit to this little pro- 
perty was altogether very satisfactory. It will, I hope, be a 
more valuable possession to our dear boy. I saw many houses 
in Kent which I thought would have suited us nicely ; but I 
do not repent of our purchase in Charlotte-square. Kent is a 
delightful county; the beautiful verdure, the fine trees, the 
undulating nature of the ground, &c., &c., all concur to render 
it a most picturesque country. 

“ 29, Leicester- square, 27th May, 1816. 

li 1 After dressing and taking my dish of tea, I 

went to Davis, in Portland-placc, and from thence proceeded, 
after breakfast, to Lumsden, in Gloucester-place, from whence 
I accompanied him to pay a visit to Sir G. Barlow, at Streat- 
liam. Sir George was well, and in good spirits, and he ap- 
peared to be really glad to see us, and highly delighted with 
our visit. On my return to town, I waited on Mr. Sullivan, 
at the Board of Control, and had a pretty long interview with 
him, which I was obliged to put an end to, in order to save 
my dinner. He received me most graciously, and I was glad 
that I had devoted an hour to pay him this attention. After 
returning home and dressing for the Opera, I went into the 
city by water, dined with E., got your dear letters, set out for 
the Opera on foot (no coaches being procurable near at hand) 
with C. and cousin J., in a shower of rain — got a coach at 
length in Cheapside — put down J., proceeded to the Opera, 
got a good seat in the pit, heard execrable music, saw very in- 
different dancing, but had the satisfaction of sitting within four 
or five yards of the Princess Charlotte and her good man. I 

^ 9 


life of h. st.g. tucker. 

will describe both when we meet. He is a good-looking man, 
with a sombre, thoughtful countenance — she is a laughing, 
careless girl, with more spirits, perhaps, than discretion. The 
Opera is miserably fallen off in every particular, and I should 
never think of attending it a second time in its present condi- 
tion. Madame Mcrconi was the only tolerable singer, and she 
performed a male character. C. and I returned home in what 
you would call a pour of min ; but I suffered no other injury 
than what befel my black silk stockings. 

“Lord Melville, it is said, comes into the Board of Control, 
and leaves the Admiralty to Mr. Canning. This arrangement 
I should like, if I had any concern in Indian affairs ; but I 
take little interest in them at present, and I am likely to feel 
less every day. 

“ I take my seat in the mail to-day, and, please Heaven! I 
shall have the happiness of seeing you again on Saturday 
next. I shall not probably write to you to-morrow, unless 
something should occur to detain me, for I shall have enough 
to do on leaving town. I have no fear of detention, however ; 
nor am I aware that I shall have left anything essential undone, 
with the exception of the question with Mr. Adams 

“ I dine to-day with the L.’s, and accompany them to the 
theatre to see Mr. Kean and the new tragedy. I shall there- 
fore have seen most of the sights; but there is no sight which 

can gratify me half so much as that of my own dear J and 

her sweet pets ; and it must be something very urgent indeed 
which can ever induce me to leave them again. I shall leave 
this place with joy, although the longer you stay in it the more 
you become reconciled to it.” 

Mr. Tucker returned to Edinburgh poorer by 
4000/. It had cost him that sum to arrange the 
business which had carried him to the south of the 

The autumn and winter of this year and the 
spring of 1817 were spent principally in the Scottish 



capital. In the summer, accompanied by his sister- 
in-law, he undertook an excursion to the Welsh coun- 
ties, with the intermediate object of visiting some 
friends at Backford, in Cheshire, from which he pro- 
ceeded to Tenby, Carmarthen, and other places. 
His impressions are conveyed with much liveliness 
of manner in the letters which he wrote to Edin- 
burgh at the time : 

“ Backford, 2 1st June, 1817. 

“ .... I did not write to you yesterday, as we sallied 
cut immediately after breakfast, and did not return until late, 
after having undergone a sort of boiling process in a hot-house, 
in addition to the roasting effects of a burning sun. I shall now 
give you a brief journal of our transactions. 

“ On the evening of my arrival, E. and I took a long ramble 
on foot into the fields, for the purpose of viewing and exploring ; 
but there is nothing very delightful in the aspect of the country. 
It is fiat, with little diversity of scenery : the trees are stunted, 
and bend generally in one direction: the brick houses are mean 
in appearance: the roads are dusty and bad; and, in short, 
there is no prospect which can compare at all with that from 
my own window. Backford itself is a commodious house, and 

it is comfortably furnished Yesterday morning 

we set out for ‘Eaton,’ the seat of Lord Grosvenor, distant 
from hence about seven miles; and a most magnificent palace 
it is! When I tell you that it cost 400,0007., you will conclude 
that it ought to be something worth seeing ; and in truth it is 
a most costly and superb mansion. I must, however, discover 
defects in everything which is not my own ; and here the fault 
is, that everything is too fine: ornaments are heaped upon 
ornaments; and there is throughout a lavish and a gaudy 
display of splendid decorations. The Mausoleum at Agra is as 
rich in beauties, and those beauties are more chaste and simple. 
The building, which is in the Gothic style, is, nevertheless, 
very handsome: the painted glass windows are most resplendent 



and beautiful: the staircase is superior to anything of the kind 
I have ever seen; and the tout-ensemble has a noble effect. The 
gardens and grounds are extensive : the green-house and hot- 
house very large; and there is everything which you can 
imagine to be necessary to form a princely establishment. I 
was surprised, however, to see so few pictures. There are 
scarcely a dozen in the house; and these are chiefly by West. 
There are only two or three by the old masters, and they arc 
not at all remarkable. 

u . . . . We dine to day with Mrs. E ; but first we 

pay a visit to Lady B. at Hoole, which is only three or four 
miles from lienee. To-morrow we attend Divine Service at the 
cathedral. On Monday we go to Oulton. On Tuesday we 
shall rest ourselves, I hope, at home; and on Wednesday I 
shall pursue my journey through Wales. 

“ Farewell I must now take an abrupt leave. 

I shall hope to receive a letter from you to-morrow, and I am 
longing for it. Heaven protect and bless you all ! 

11 Ever yours, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 

“ Cheltenham, 1st July, 1817. 

u . . . . I was delighted just now at receiving your 

letter of Friday last. I had become a little impatient to hear 
from you, and yet I scarcely expected to have this gratification; 
for in changing my route I necessarily deranged all our plans of 
communication. I never paid five shillings postage with more 
pleasure than I did to-day; and all your accounts are satisfactory. 
. . , . I am heartily tired of this place; but I have en- 

gaged a seat in the coach to Gloucester, and shall set out this 
evening. I packed up my baggage betimes this morning; but 
I was still lingering in the hope of receiving letters when your 
epistle came to hand and determined me. From Gloucester I 
shall proceed on to-morrow morning by the mail to Tenby, 
without going to Bristol as I had intended, and I hope to reach 
Tenby on Thursday evening. I have resolved not to go to 
London, in spite of all your injunctions. The trip would not 



be productive either of pleasure or advantage, and it would be 
attended with expense and inconvenience. I could not take 
any step with regard to our future residence ; and it will be 
much better that we should go together next spring, when we 
can look about us at leisure. I have had a very inviting ac- 
count of Devonshire from an old acquaintance whom I met 
here, and he has offered either to make inquiries for me about 
a house, &c., or to give me a bed, that I may be enabled to 
make them in person. He keeps his carriage and horses, has an 
excellent house in or near Exeter, goes about, sees his friends, 
has two or three grown up daughters, and his expenditure does 
not, he tells me, exceed 1400Z. per annum. The house which 
I looked at near Wrexham, in Denbighshire, would suit us very 
well, and would be a very suitable establishment for us in all 
respects; but there are many points to be considered before we 
move with a view to a permanent settlement, and these we can 
discuss at leisure.” 

“ Tenby, 3rd July, 1817. 

“ . . . . I arrived here two hours ago with a beard as 

long as a Turk’s ; but I have now got rid of this ,ornamcnt, and 
although I have had rather a hard journey over bad roads, I am 
perfectly well and stout. I could not write to you en route ; for 
between Gloucester and this place — a distance of about 150 
miles — we did not halt for twenty minutes at any one time. 1 
neither had dinner, tea, nor supper yesterday, and only tasted 
two biscuits and three sponge cakes between eight o’clock 
yesterday and eight o’clock this morning. You will not consider 
this very good fare for a hungry traveller; but I find it answer 
better to eat little when I am travelling, and I am just now 
reaping the benefit of my abstinence. Had I been disposed to 
dine, I must, under the arrangements of the mail, have taken 
my dinner at twelve o’clock, and my supper at twelve o’clock 
following ; but I was not at all sorry that these hours did not 
suit my appetite. I mention these circumstances to show you * 
that I had no time to write to you, chemin faisant ; and I am a 
little afraid that you may be disappointed at the long interval 
which must elapse between your receiving my last and my 



present epistle. I was delighted with two letters on my arrival 
here, and I thank you for them with all my heart. 

“ The country I have just passed through, and I think the 
road from Ross to Monmouth, is as beautiful as any part of 
England or Scotland which I have seen. The river Wye 
meanders in sight of it a great part of the way ; and although 
the scenery is different, and not perhaps so picturesque as that 
between Lang Town and Langholm, it is by no means inferior 
to it. The house I, of course, have not seen. . . . Before we 
move, there are many points to consider and arrange ; and all 
these we will discuss by-and-by at leisure. 

“ We have had Scotch weather for the last three days, 
alternate wind and rain, and a little occasional sunshine. The 
rain having predominated since my arrival, I have not been 
abroad, and the only peculiarities which I have yet remarked 
are, that the cattle are almost universally black ; that the women 
ride on horseback and wear hats like those which are worn by 
our sex; that the people speak in a sharp tone, with a quick 
utterance, something after the manner of their relations, the 
French ; that the coal looks like coaldust ; and that they put 
two bullocks and two small horses, and sometimes three small 
horses, into a cart which would be easily drawn by one in- 
different Scotch horse ; and, finally, that the country is more 
c denuded 9 of trees than even Scotland itself — I mean the 
country within thirty miles of this place; for I repeat that the 
country near Monmouth is most beautiful.’* 

“ Backford, July 10, 1817. 

“ I am once more snug and comfortable with 

our friends here, after a long and very tiresome journey. I 
left Tenby on Monday, after breakfast, and posted thence to 
Coldblow to meet the mail ; but, after waiting two hours for it, 
it arrived quite full of passengers within and without ; and I 
was obliged to post on to Carmarthen in a most sorry equipage. 
At Carmarthen I was detained again nearly a whole day ; and 
the coach which brought me from thence to Shrewsbury was 
one of the most wretched conveyances I ever met with. We 
travelled at the rate of about four miles and a half per hour ; 



and during a part of the distance I could have walked much 
faster than the coach. Here I am, however, as fresh and as 
well as ever, and ready to set out again to dine with Mrs. E. in 
Chester ” 

“ Backford, July 14, 1817, 

“ We have just returned from haymaking ; but as it was 

very hot, our labors have not accomplished a great deal. S 

is the most indefatigable of the party, and as for V , she can 

do nothing but read 1 Cecilia.* We are both very 

comfortable and happy here ; but we shall be quite as well at 
home. We shall not, however, I fear, get away until Friday 
morning ; and I shall find it rather a difficult affair to get to 
you on Tuesday. I shall push hard for it.” 

“ Penrith, July 24, 1817. 

“ . . . . We arrived here yesterday quite well, after 

exploring the Lakes, &c. We have had a very pleasant ex- 
cursion I shall not, I fear, have the happiness of 

seeing you until Wednesday evening at the earliest ; for we 
must pass a few hours at the least with dear Anne. I am very, 
very impatient, but neither the sun nor post-horses will move 
much faster in consequence. I pray Heaven that we may have 
a speedy and a happy meeting ” 

The summer of the following year found Mr. 
Tucker in Ireland. The immediate object of his 
journey was a visit to an old Indian friend, Mr. 
Bichardson, who had settled himself down in Dun- 
dalk. But over and above this sacrifice to friend- 
ship, there was in this, as in all his other excursions, 
a further end to be attained. He who spends all 
the best years of his life in a distant country, differ- 
ing in every conceivable point of view from his own, 
has necessarily much to learn and something to un- 
learn, on settling down again in the land which he 



quitted as a boy. To Mr. Tucker it seemed, as to 
every intelligent Anglo-Indian in these later days it 
has seemed, on revisiting the home of his fathers, 
that cognisant as he was of the manners and insti- 
tutions of the East, he was necessarily behind his 
neighbours in practical acquaintance with the people 
and the usages of the British Isles : and it appeared 
to him a duty to guard himself against the forma- 
tion of erroneous opinions, by extending his expe- 
riences to all parts of the country, and filling his 
pitcher at the fountain-head. Time was, if we may 
believe the traditions of the past century, when the 
retired Nabob squared all his opinions by the rule and 
plummet of his Indian experiences — when he trans- 
planted to Bath, to Cheltenham, or to Edinburgh, 
the manners of the Cutcherry and the morals of the 
Zenana — when his local knowledge went little be- 
yond the boundaries set forth in the map of Bengal, 
or “ the Coast,” and all the institutions with which 
he had any distinct acquaintance were the Regula- 
tions of the Indian Government. But in these days 
it is subject of common remark — remark always 
mingled with expressions of astonishment — that 
men who have passed by far the greater part of 
their lives in some distant Indian settlement, appear 
soon after their return from exile to know at least 
as much of the countries, the people, and the insti- 
tutions of Europe, as those who have lived all their 
years in the West. Strange as this may appear at 
the first glance, the strangeness vanishes after a 
little reflection. Men who, after years of absence 



and years of toil, return to their Western homes, 
are slow to settle themselves down into the fixture- 
life which is the characteristic of our home-bred 
civilisation. They have health to regain ; they have 
leisure to exhaust ; and they have money to expend. 
They are accustomed to frequent migrations. They 
take little account of distance. They are citizens of 
the world. The polarity of the fireside is not to 
them what it is to their brethren of Somerset House 
and the Exchange. Many a returned Indian in the 
course of a year or two sees more of Great Britain — 
more of continental Europe — than all the rest of his 
family in their aggregate experience during the 
whole course of their lives. He sees it, too, at a 
period of his career when he is less likely to form 
hasty conclusions — when his mind, enlarged by 
foreign travel, and much intercourse with men, is 
more capable of forming comparisons and analogies, 
noting differences and distinctions, and illustrating 
the observances of one country by a reference to the 
experiences of another. When Mr. Tucker returned 
from India, there were scarcely any of those facili- 
ties of locomotion which exist in the present day, 
and he could not visit, in rapid succession, the va- 
riety of places at home and abroad to which now his 
successors are whirled. But to travel more is not 
necessarily to see more. During the three first 
years of his sojourn in Europe, he visited many 
parts of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland; 
and with that rare aptitude for acquiring informa- 
tion which had enabled him when yet a boy, in 



Bengal and Behar, to discourse knowingly on sys- 
tems of Indian revenue, he gathered up rich ex- 
periences, to he turned to profitable account in the 
game of statesmanship which he was yet destined to 

But I am writing, in this chapter, of Mr. Tucker 
in his private relations, and desire to illustrate only 
the domestic side of his character. The passages 
which I am culling from his correspondence are 
gathered from letters addressed to the companion of 
his life, and were intended only to gladden the home 
from which he was never absent in spirit. It is 
time now that I should resume my quotations : 

“Leinster Hotel, Dublin, May 14th, 1818. 

“ . . . . We arrived here last night at eleven o’clock, 

after a passage of thirteen hours, which is considered sufficiently 

favorable I fear that you will have expected to 

hear from me sooner, and that you may have been a little dis- 
appointed in not getting a letter from me ; but after getting 
into the mail at Llangollen, I had not one single moment 
which I could command. From Llangollen I did not think it 
necessary to write, as I had only just left you, and I had not 
seen anything which I thought worthy of a description. 

“Do not expect to hear from me regularly, for I find that 
the packet is sometimes two days, or longer, in getting across; 
and while I am travelling, it is not possible to write. I am at 
this moment writing in a public coffee-room, with people all 
around me talking Irish in the purest style ; and this confuses 
me a little, since I cannot choose but hear them. You must 
not be surprised, indeed, if I should give you a little of the 
brogue . 

“ On Saturday we set off for Dundalk, where I propose to 
remain until Tuesday or Wednesday, and on Friday or Satur- 
day we shall, I trust, embark again for England. This, how- 



ever, must depend upon wind and weather; for if the wind be 
adverse, or (what is worse) if there be a calm, there is no use 
in commencing the voyage. Calms are to be expected at this 
season; and we may therefore be a couple of days in crossing 
the water. Do not, then, expect us before Tuesday, nor in- 
deed on any particular day or hour ; for it is impossible to 
make arrangements which must depend on winds and weather. 

I can give you no description of Dublin, for I 

have not yet seen it ; and the fine bay, which is its greatest 
ornament, we saw almost in the dark. You shall, however, 
have a full account of our travels on our return.” 

“Dundalk, May 15th, 1818. 

“ . . . . We arrived here at two o’clock to-day, after 

a pleasant journey. We came through a country not at all 
remarkable for beauty ; and as for this good town, it is one of 
the dirtiest holes I ever saw. You have nothing in Scotland 
half so dirty or disgusting. The utmost degree of wretchedness 
seems to prevail throughout the country ; and except during 
the famines in India, I have never anywhere met with such a 
ragged, squalid, miserable race of beings. Half the population 
is half naked, or in filthy rags ; and the number of beggars is 
so great as to be a serious nuisance. In short, things are much 
worse here than in Scotland ; and, go where I will, I come al- 
ways to this conclusion, that everything is best at home. I am 
really sorry to see II. fixed even for a short time in such a 
wretched town. The house is large and commodious, and they 
have a very pretty garden ; but nothing could reconcile me to 
such a neighbourhood. 

“ Upon the whole, I have seen nothing yet to delight me; 
but I have seen a new country, which is always an object of 
interest, and I am not sorry that I made the trip. I have been 
most amused with the language and remarks of the lower orders 
of the people. There is something so original and so ludicrous 
in their manner and expressions, that I listen to them with a 
great degree of interest; and I am induced to laugh at them, or 
with them, as I should do at good comic acting. We shall 
stay here probably until Tuesday; and after rambling about 



Dublin and its neighbourhood until Friday or Saturday, I hope 
to embark again for dear England. We cannot, however, be 
with you before Monday at the soonest.” 

“Dundalk, May 17th, 1818. 

“ . . . . We have just come in from church, where 

we had very good service ; and the day being extremely fine, 
and the people being all in their best attire, things wear rather 
a more cheerful appearance. But, at best, this is one of the 
most dirty, disagreeable places I have ever been in. We yes- 
terday took a ride out on horseback, a distance of five or six 
miles from the town; but although this is considered the best 
ride in the neighbourhood, there is scarcely any part of Scot- 
land which I should not think more civilised and more inviting 
in its appearance. The people seem either habitually lazy, or 
altogether disheartened by their poverty and misery. In each 
field you see some three or four ragged laborers (sometimes the 
fair sex are of the party), who stand leaning on their spades, as 
if totally indifferent to the work they have in hand. The 
ground being scarcely turned up by the plough, they arc 
obliged to break it up as well as they can with the spade ; and 
then they send a light harrow tripping over it, for no one pur- 
pose whatever which I could discover, since if they brushed the 
ground with an ostrich feather they would make quite as much 
impression upon it. The lower Irish are the most careless, 
thoughtless beings which it is possible to conceive. Yesterday 
we met in our ride two strapping fellows upon a miserable lean 
horse, with two large sacks of bran dangling one on cither side, 
the mouths being dowmvards. Well, by way of showing off, 
as they passed us, the poor animal was goaded into a rumbling 
trot, the mouth of one of the sacks opened, and the bran went 
flying about until the road was strewed with it. These fellow's 
went jogging on, notwithstanding, as if perfectly unconscious 
of what was going forward; but at length one of them, appear- 
ing to awake, he set about dismounting. Instead, however, of 
getting off on the side of the empty bag, which I should have 
conceived the more easy and obvious proceeding, he threw 
himself back the other way; and his weight being thus thrown 



into the heavier scale, the whole party came to the ground. 
Everything seems to be matter of indifference to them. The 
boys amuse themselves in jumping from the walls of the cot- 
tages into the filthy dunghills below ; and this seems to delight 
them as much as if they were plunging into beds of roses. The 
streets and roads are crowded with children and young lads 
in tatters, playing at hop-step-and-jump, and apparently well 
pleased to do anything but work. The best estate in the county 
would not tempt me to live in it ; and I am no longer surprised 
that there should be so many absentees. 

“We shall set out on our return "to Dublin on Tuesday, and 
on Friday evening I hope to embark again for England, with 
purpose never to revisit this sweet little island of Erin. I am 
glad that I have seen it ; but I shall be glad not to see it 

“ Dundalk, May 18th, 1818. 

“ . . . . Yesterday we had crowds of visitors here, all 

pure, unadulterated Irish. One lady asked me very gravely 
‘ If India were not much nearer now to this country than it was 
some years ago?’ This was rather a puzzler; but I got off as 
well as I could without offence to her, or to the laws of nature. 
To-day we have a fair in the town; but as the county has been 
proclaimed, and is under military law, the people arc obliged to 
be very circumspect, and we shall not probably have any of the 
usual fun of broken heads, or the like. We are going, how- 
ever, to sally out on horseback, to sec what is to be seen. Such 
was the state of this neighbourhood during last year, that they 
were obliged to enforce what is called the Insurrection Act; 
and no person can stir out of his house after the curfew, with- 
out being liable to be taken up as a vagrant, and sentenced to 
transportation. What a country to live in ! 

“P.S. — Dublin. — We arrived here, all well, yesterday even- 
ing, after having had a genuine specimen of Irish posting. The 
horses were so lame, and the equipage altogether so wretched, 
that we were ashamed to show ourselves in it to the citizens of 
Dublin; and so we got out, and walked the last mile. Indeed, 
we thought that the horses could drag us no further. The 



weather was, however, delightful, and we perambulated the 
city afterwards, until past nine o’clock.” 

On his return from Ireland, Mr. Tucker, accom- 
panied by his wife, paid a brief visit to London. In 
the course of the following September he escorted 
Mrs. Tucker’s sister and a party of young friends on 
an excursion to the Scotch lakes — a work of kind- 
ness rather than of inclination, for he was familiar 
with the ground which they traversed, and the in- 
cessant sight-seeing was wearisome to him. He was 
longing all the time to be again in Charlotte-square. 
“ It is all very well,” he wrote, “ to view objects of 
curiosity ; but my real delight will be in reviewing 
my own dear home.” 

Towards the close of the following year (1819), 
Mr. Tucker was called by business to London, where 
he took up his residence in the Haymarket, which 
was then something more than a name. “You may 
be curious to receive some account of my present 
abode,” he wrote. “ It is directly opposite to the 
Opera House, within a few doors of the little 
theatre; and I have, therefore, music and dancing 
quite within reach. I have also a fine prospect of 
hay from my windows.” He had much business to 
do, and many visits to pay on his own account ; but 
he yet could make time to advance the interests of 
others ; and much of his private correspondence re- 
lates to his toilsome, but in the end successful efforts 
to obtain appointments for some young relatives and 
connexions, who had very little claim upon him. 



He entered but sparingly into the amusements of 
the town. “ It. and I,” he said, still writing to 
Charlotte-square, “ dined together at a coffee-house 
yesterday, and went afterwards to the House of 
Commons, where we heard a very interesting debate. 
We were fortunate in procuring excellent seats, and 
remained in the House till near three o’clock in the 
morning. This is the greatest raking I have been 
guilty of for many a day. The evening before I 
dined alone at a vile coffee-house, recommended 

to me by Colonel C , that I might go and 

see Drury Lane Theatre. Kean performed, what I 
think liis best character. Sir Giles Overreach ; and 
as I was in the Pit, I saw and heard to great ad- 
vantage.* I have only now to attend the House 
of Lords, and then I shall have satisfied all my 
curiosity in this way.” 

He visited also the India House and the Board of 
Control, and the subject of an appointment in the 
Examiner’s Office at the former, again came before 
him for consideration. “ I passed four or five hours,” 
he wrote, “ yesterday at the Board of Control and 
the India House, and was most cordially received 
by all my acquaintance, who seem to regret that I 
have not been placed amongst them. It was, I 
believe, in contemplation, when the last arrange- 
ment took place — but they concluded that I would 
not accept a situation on the footing on which they 

* In a letter written about this time, Mr. Tucker says, “ I am getting one 
of my Comedies transcribed; and if it should be finished in time I shall submit 
it to one of the managers.” Whether he did so or not, does not appear. 




would have been disposed to place me. Mr. M‘Cul- 
loch, I hear, behaved extremely well. He assured 
the Chairman that he did not wish to stand in the 
way of any arrangement which it might be found 
convenient to make; and that he should be quite 
content to remain under any person who might be 
selected for the head of the office. But,” added 
Mr. Tucker, communicating this to his wife, “we 
are both quite content, my own dear Jane, to remain 
comfortably in Charlotte-square, instead of encoun- 
tering the noise and smoke of this overgrown me- 
tropolis.” He saw, at that time, little to induce 
him again to wear the harness of official life. 

His business in London accomplished, Mr. Tucker 
hastened back to the northern metropolis. Reports 
of disturbances in Scotland caused him to accelerate 
his homeward movements. There seemed to be a 
prospect of exciting times, and except the thought 
of giving assurance by his presence at home to his 
own family, nothing pressed upon his mind more 
eagerly than the desire to testify his loyalty by join- 
ing any volunteer force that might be raised for the 
protection of the country. “ Beg Boswell, or Alex- 
ander,” he wrote, “ to insert my name immediately 
as a member of the volunteer cavalry ; and request 

A to look out for a light active horse for me. 

He had better consult my friend Richardson about 
him, as he is an old cavalry officer, an excellent 
judge of horses, and he knows the kind of animal 
which would suit me.” But the disturbances were 
soon at an end ; and Mr. Tucker was not called upon 


to exhibit himself, in the West, as he had done in 
the East, as a Iight-Horse Volunteer. 

But he was about soon to gird himself up for 
another contest. This is the only chapter of Mr. 
Tucker’s adult life which is purely one of private 
history. I have expanded it the rather on this ac- 
count, and dwelt upon circumstances of little im- 
portance except as illustrations of private character, 
because such a chapter affords a sort of halting- 
ground, where the reader may rest before passing 
from the record of Mr. Tucker’s career in the East 
to the narrative of his public life in the West. It 
is not to be doubted, that during this period of re- 
pose he was very happy. In the wife of his bosom 
he had a true help-meet and a charming companion. 
And his children were growing up at his knees, 
visions of delight filling him with joy. But man, 
who knows himself but little, knows himself in 
nothing so little, as when he estimates his power, 
in the prime of life and the vigor of intellect, to 
retire into privacy and to subside into inaction, 
without a regret or a desire to ruffle the surface of 
his domestic peace. If it be an infirmity for a man 
at the age of forty-eight to think that his work is not 
done, and to desire to take part in public affairs, 
such is the “ infirmity of noble minds,” and I envy 
not the man without it. Henry St.George Tucker 
thought for a time that he was “ quite content” 
with Charlotte-square, with his loving wife, and his 
dear children. And in one sense he was content. 
Happy is the man, who feels in his inmost heart 

v 2 



that public success is not a necessity of his life— 
that if entrance into the great world of Politics be 
denied to him, he has still abundant store of comfort 
left him in the solid realities of domestic bliss. But 
the excitement of public life, rightly considered and 
legitimately encouraged, is not antagonistic, but an- 
cillary, to domestic happiness. As with the body, 
so with the mind, the proper exercise and just de- 
velopment of each part is essential to the health and 
perfection of the rest. Men are not worse, but 
better husbands and fathers, for taking part in the 
external realities of public life. It has been said, 
by the greatest of English prose-writers, that the 
pleasures of the intellect are greater than the plea- 
sures of the affections — as though they were antago- 
nistic properties. But it is only in combination 
that either is perfect. No man really knows the 
delights of home — no man can justly appreciate its 
blessings — who has not another life, another history, 
than that of the fireside. 




Mr. Tucker’s Departure from Scotland—** Starting for the Direction”— Con- 
stitution of the Court of Directors — The Canvass — Candidates and Voters — 
The “ City Interest” — The ** West-India Interest” — Mr. Tucker’s Defeat — 
Renewal of the Canvass— -His Election — Incidents of Private Life. 

When, therefore, Henry St. George Tucker formed 
the resolution of leaving Edinburgh, and again enter- 
ing into public life, all that his Biographer can say of 
the matter is, that he did wisely. In the course of 
the year 1820, he removed his family to England ; 
and hired a residence in that part of the country 
where Middlesex and Hertfordshire join, in the 
neighbourhood of Barnet. And then, early in the 
following year, he began “ to canvass for the Direc- 
tion.” In other words, he bethought himself of 
again entering public life, as a Director of the East 
India Company. 

It was a legitimate and a worthy object of ambi- 
tion that he had now set before him. He aspired to 
he nothing less than the twenty-fourth part of a 
King — of one of the greatest sovereigns in the 
world. If all kings were as competent to govern 
the empires entrusted to them, they would have no 



need of bad ministers. Mr. Tucker felt that be 
had within him the knowledge and experience — the 
earnestness and zeal — necessary to the character of 
one who aspires to take an active part in the manage- 
ment of such a country. He did not merely want 
employment. He did not want position. He did not 
want patronage. He wanted to be useful. He 
wanted to do good. 

The Court of Directors of the East India Company 
at that time consisted of twenty-four effective mem- 
bers ; and six on a non-effective list, formed by the 
yearly rustication of that number of the fraternity, 
all going out in succession. These thirty Directors 
were elected by the Proprietors of East India Stock — 
no other qualification being necessary than the posses- 
sion of a certain amount of the prescribed securities.* 
It happened, therefore, that a considerable number 
of these Directors were chosen not from among men 
who had passed many years in India and had 
garnered up rich stores of Indian information, but 
from among Merchants and Bankers, and men con- 
nected with the Shipping interests, who had but 
slender acquaintance with the history, the geo- 
graphy, the institutions, and the usages of the East. 
Nor was it altogether unfitting that such general 
elements should enter into the constitution of the 
Court. The East India Company was at that time a 
“ Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies;” 
and, although when Mr. Tucker canvassed the Pro- 

* I write in the past tense, because, doubtless, there will be some readers 
of this Tolume into whoso hands it will not pass before all this is tradition. 



prietors, the monopoly of the India trade had been 
abolished, the China monopoly still existed, and the 
management of this trade formed an important part 
of the duties of the Leadenhall-street Council. 

It may be doubted whether even in those days 
the “ City-interest” was not too powerful for the in- 
terests of India. But it is not to be doubted that 
many men, who have had no Indian antecedents, 
or whose connexion with India has been of the 
slenderest and most uninstructive kind, have risen 
into very useful and very influential Directors, whose 
merits their more experienced brethren have de- 
lighted to acknowledge. It is not because such men 
were often elected, that I speak of the undue power 
of the City-interest ; but because in effect a few great 
Houses monopolised so large a number of votes, that 
the real constituency was greatly narrowed, and it 
became not so much a matter of primal concernment 
for the candidate to canvass the general body of Pro- 
prietors as to canvass these great Houses. And it 
need not be said that it was not the individual fit- 
ness of the candidate — his ability, liis experience, 
his zeal, and his integrity — which these Leviathan 
Houses were wont in the first instance to regard. 
This Mr. Tucker knew and deplored. He would have 
amended it, if he could ; but as he could not, he had 
no sooner formed his intention to “ stand for the 
Direction,” than he took counsel with some leading 
members of certain great City Houses, and invited 
their support. 

In the following letter written to one of these great 



vote-holders — a merchant whom he had known well 
in India — it may be seen how the course which he 
purposed to adopt was then taking shape in his 


“Friera Lodge, Whetstone, 22nd January, 1821. 

“Dear A , — I came into the country, like certain 

pugilists, for the benefit of a summer’s training ; but I hear 
that the Ring is likely to be formed much sooner than I 
could have anticipated. From Cox and other friends I have 
heard lately that there is a probability of no less than three 
vacancies in April, by the resignation of two of the Directors; 
and if this information be correct, it may be as well for me to 
consider whether I ought not to offer myself for one of them. 
Not that I am at all impatient to stand. On the contrary, 
Mr. Forbes’ advice to me 1 not to be precipitate’ was unques- 
tionably good, and I feel much disposed to follow it. I feel, 
moreover, great reluctance to stand against Welland; for 
although I do not myself believe that I should prejudice his 
interests, he and his friends will, perhaps, think differently. 

“ On the other hand, by standing in April, I may derive 
some benefit from the attendance of some of the distant voters, 
who are not likely to be in London at any other season ; and 
there are some on the spot who would give me their second or 
third votes, although I could not expect from them their first 
votes in a single contest. 

“ Now, I do not wish to be importunate or troublesome to 
you; but if you have had an opportunity of consulting your 
friends, and if they are prepared to come to a determination, it 
would be of great importance to me to know whether you and 
they are disposed to support mo with your second or third 
votes, in the event of three vacancies occurring. If you should 
be so disposed, and if I should be advised to stand, it is evident 
that I have not a moment to lose; for I have my testimonials 
to collect and arrange, and I have to undertake a personal 
canvass, which I can scarcely be said to have yet commenced. 



I have received most flattering encouragement from many indi- 
viduals, and abundance of very gratifying compliments, which, 
after due abatement, incline me to think (or at least to hope) 
that I shall have a fair share of the benefit of public opinion in 
my favor; but I have neither commenced a regular canvass, 
nor had I any idea of commencing one, before the General 
Election, until I heard of the expected vacancies. 

“ Again, I repeat, that I am not in a hurry to stand myself, 
nor would I wish to hurry you; but if your decision be formed? 
the communication of it would relieve me from a little dilemma, 
or awkwardness; for while a doubt exists with regard to it, I 
feel that I cannot in delicacy ask advice from Shore and others 
who act with you, and whose advice would be to me of the 
utmost importance. In any case, you will do me the justice to 
believe that I am not so unreasonable as to harbour anything 
like a feeling of dissatisfaction, if you were to tell me at once 
that you could not support me. I am perfectly satisfied of your 
good wishes; and I am well aware that, in so extensive and 
complicated a connexion, it may be necessary to consult the 
views and interests of so many, as to render it difficult, and 
perhaps impracticable, for you to give effect to those wishes. 
In truth, too, it would not seriously distress me if I were to 
stop short to-morrow ; for I have not placed my happiness in 
the East India House, and I have received testimonies of regard 
and of approbation of my public conduct, more than sufficient 
to recompense me for the little trouble I have hitherto taken. 
A seat in the Direction is a legitimate object of ambition. I 
like active employment, and I prefer, from habit, those public 
duties and occupations to which I have been so long accus- 
tomed; but I shall not be unhappy if I am not allowed to 
become a public drudge. Even the patronage is not a principal 
object with me, although it would, no doubt, be the source of 
very great gratification ; for my friends in the Direction have 
hitherto supplied my wants. 

“ In short, this is a long letter, which it is time to conclude; 
and I shall conclude by repeating that, although I am far from 
being indifferent to the object which I have proposed to myself, 
I am by no means impatient to prosecute it; and that, if you 



and Mr. Forbes, and your friends, would only interest your- 
selves so far as to say ‘ halt,’ or 1 move forward,’ I should cheer- 
fully and thankfully obey the word of command. 

“ Believe me, very sincerely, &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 

Though the plan here spoken of was abandoned, 
he now began to prosecute his canvass in earnest. 
A long and a wearisome business was this “ can- 
vassing for the Direction.” The canvassing of con- 
stituencies is never pleasant. A man with a vote in 
his pocket rides the suffrage like a high horse. He 
is as extortionate as a Chief Inquisitor, and as pre- 
sumptuous as the Grand Turk. He thinks himself 
privileged to ask anything, to exact anything, to 
dictate anything ; and to give in return grudging 
assents, half promises, or impertinent denials. But 
the torture to which the candidate is subjected is 
generally brief. The circle of suffering is bounded 
by a few weeks. The canvass is not commenced 
till the opening has presented itself and the day of 
election is near at hand. Canvassing for the East 
India Direction was, however, a work of years. It 
looked far into the future. It addressed itself to re- 
mote contingencies. It contemplated events not 
in esse, but in posse. It anticipated the will of Pro- 
vidence, and hungered after empty places before the 
hour was ripe. It took its stand upon the doctrine 
of probabilities, and calculated rates of mortality. 
It assumed that the ranks of a corps, composed 
chiefly of men who had long passed their prime, 
must be periodically thinned, and that in no single 



year of the century was a vacancy far off. A man, 
therefore, declared himself a candidate for the Di- 
rection whenever he had a mind to put forth an 
address to the Proprietors of India Stock. The 
earlier he appeared in the field, the earlier in all 
probability would he be returned. So the candidate 
prepared himself for the contest — put himself into 
training, waited patiently, and worked strenuously 
till the day of battle had come. 

The operation was a tedious one. Of this patient 
waiting and this strenuous working it demanded, 
indeed, long years. When a man first declared 
himself a candidate for the Direction, he knew that 
others, who had declared themselves before, must 
be elected before him. It was not the first vacancy 
— or the second — or, perhaps, even the third, that 
he believed himself destined to fill. A vacancy oc- 
curred, and he did not even attempt to hoist himself 
into the place. Another, and he still looked on. A 
third ; and he went, perhaps diffidently or carelessly, 
to the Poll, with scarcely a hope of success. A 
fourth, and there was a sharp contest — he was 
beaten by a few votes. A fifth, and he was tri- 
umphantly returned. He might be beaten twice, or 
he might be beaten only once ; but few entered the 
Court without sustaining at least one defeat. De- 
feat, indeed, was almost a condition of election. I 
believe that there is but one Director, at this time, 
who secured his seat without years of canvass. 

That in this state of things there were inherent 



evils is not to be doubted. A resolute candidate, 
whatever might be his claims, sometimes gained his 
point by dint of shere perseverance and importunity. 
A vote would often be promised to a man for two 
or three elections in advance, simply for the purpose 
of getting rid of a troublesome candidate, or, in 
very gentleness of heart, to smooth the asperity of 
a present refusal. So that when candidates of high 
rank presented themselves, they found the Pro- 
prietors already prospectively pledged, and were ne- 
cessitated to endure the ordeal of initiatory failure 
or to withdraw altogether from the lists. So it 
happened that men of distinguished reputation, un- 
willing to be defeated by their inferiors, shrunk 
altogether from the contest. And it was said that 
the necessities of the canvass and the chances of the 
competition filled the Court with second-rate men. 

But this was only partly true. It has been asserted, 
on the other hand, that such men as Munro, Elphin- 
stone, and Metcalfe, needed only to declare them- 
selves as Candidates for the Direction to secure an 
immediate recognition of their claims. And I have 
the utmost faith in the assertion. I believe that 
there were few candidates who would not have 
voluntarily given place to such men, and temporarily 
released their supporters from the pledges that they 
had ignorantly given. I believe that the claims 
of such pre-eminent merit would never have been 
denied. But it must be admitted that many men, 
distinguished though in a lesser degree, shrunk from 
the contest upon no insufficient grounds ; and that 



others who had braved it, were defeated by their 
inferiors in ability and reputation. There was some 
leaven of real evil in this — but there was much, too> 
that lay only on the surface. It was found in effect 
that the men of the highest Indian reputations did 
not always make the best Directors. Great names 
are often great delusions. Men entered the Court 
with great reputations; and were found to be in- 
dolent, or prejudiced, or crotchety, or self-sufficient, 
and rather obstructed than aided the working of the 
machinery of Government. Sometimes they looked 
upon a seat in the India House as an easy-cbair, 
in which they might lounge away the rest of their 
lives, reposing under the laurels which they had 
earned in India. On the other hand, men, who had 
a reputation to make, made it ; and were the more 
eager to prove their fitness for office since they knew 
that it had been questioned. I do not mean to say 
that this was the rule, or that, if it had been, it 
would have proved the excellence of the system. 
I only mean that the most distinguished men did 
not necessarily make the best Directors, and that 
system had some advantages if it had many defects. 

Of the general results of the system — of the 
working of the Government so constituted, I shah, 
perhaps, have occasion to speak more fully in an- 
other chapter. To this only belongs the subject of 
election with the process of preliminary canvassing, 
which was a work demanding no common amount of 
energy and perseverance. It demanded, too, some- 
thing more than this ; it demanded leisure, and it de- 



manded money. The constituency was scattered all 
over the British Islands. There was no place, from 
the Land’s End to John O’G-roat’s, in which a Pro- 
prietor of India Stock, with one or more stars to his 
name, might not be located. An active canvasser 
seldom relied on the effect of epistolary solicitation. 
He generally, either in his own person, or through 
the agency of a zealous friend, beat up the quarters 
of the voter. It would be curious to estimate the 
number of miles travelled by a candidate for the 
Direction in the course of his canvass. The ex- 
penditure of money, too, was not inconsiderable. A 
man desiderating a seat in Parliament goes down 
to a borough and spends, perhaps, a few thousand 
pounds in the course of a few days. The trouble 
and anxiety are intense whilst they last ; but they 
are soon at an end. But the candidate for the Direc- 
tion spent his money slowly, and his sufferings wei’e 
spread over a space of several years. The disper- 
sion of the constituency, too, was a great evil to 
the candidate. Men located in remote parts of the 
country had their public virtue or their private 
friendship severely tested by a request to come up 
to London, in days when travelling was both costly 
and expensive, to vote for an Indian Director. The 
reluctance of the indolent, and the scruples of the 
parsimonious, were alike to be overcome. Then 
there was often the inopportune intervention of a fit 
of gout, or an attack of lumbago, to keep the voter 
to his own room at the very time when he was re- 



quired to put h i mself into the Mail, and be jolted to 
the Poll at the India House. All sorts of disap- 
pointments and vexations would arise in the course 
of a canvass of such long duration. The delay, too, 
tried the truth and consistency of voters to an ex- 
tent sometimes beyond their powers of resistance. 
I am afraid it sometimes happened that men pro- 
mised their support to one candidate, and voted for 

One of the first things that a candidate did, after 
declaring his intention to stand for the Direction, 
was to form a Committee of influential friends, and 
to hire a Committee-room at some first-rate tavern 
in the City. These Committees consisted of a cer- 
tain number of good names ; and two or three 
working members, who kept annotated lists of the 
Court of Proprietors, and studied all methods, 
direct and indirect, of approaching uncertain voters. 
There was “ treating,” too, doubtless on a liberal 
scale, but not after the fashion of a borough elec- 
tion. A candidate for the Direction did not keep 
open house during the years of his canvass, but he 
recognised the necessity of entertaining his friends ; 
and balls and dinner-parties constituted at least a 
portion of the legitimate allurements which were 
employed. This was, generally, the full extent of 
the bribery and corruption. The canvass, indeed, 
was altogether more toilsome than humiliating; 
and it may be questioned whether, as a rule, any 
other elections are conducted with so little resort to 



unworthy and illegal means of accomplishing a de- 
sired end.* 

There were exceptions to this, as to other rules, 
and I shall come presently to speak of some of them. 
In the mean while, let it be said that Mr. Tucker 
set about this work of canvassing, as about every 
other work which he undertook, with characteristic 
energy and activity. He had not long formed the 
resolution of starting for the Direction, before he 
set out for Bath, Clifton, Cheltenham, and other 
places where Proprietors of India Stock congregate, 
to declare his intentions, and to solicit support. 
Prom Bath, about the middle of February, he wrote 
to his beloved wife, who was entirely in all his 
councils, and who entered with the liveliest sym- 
pathy and warmest affection into all his views : “I 
have been running about a great deal this morning, 
paying visits to Indian friends as well as to voters ; 
but I found very few of either description at home, 
and I do not promise myself great success as far as 
electioneering objects are in question. I saw Sir 
Robert Blair, Sir F. Dallas, General Cameron, and 
Colonel Shaw, who are all Proprietors ; and I left 
cards for many others ; but they are all pretty well 
engaged, and I cannot expect many of them to 
travel above 200 miles, merely to gratify one who is 

♦ Of course, a constituency so composed is not to be bribed with pots of 
beer, or even with five-pound notes. But it lias been alleged that the 
patronage of the Directors has been forestalled for electioneering purposes — 
that Proprietors have been bribed by promises of writerships and cadetships. 
If this charge be intended to have general application, it is singularly untrue. 
If such has been done, the case is an exceptional one. The rule is altogether 
the reverse. 



a stranger to them.” From Clifton, he wrote a few 
days afterwards, “ I have been canvassing here with 
better success than I had expected; and I have 
found here as elsewhere friends who are disposed to 
exert themselves strenuously in my favor.” From 
Cheltenham he wrote, on the 2nd of March, “ To- 
day I shall pay my electioneering visits at this 
place ;” and two days afterwards, having proceeded 
to Malvern, he added : “ I was most civilly received 
by the Cheltenham voters.” Everybody acknow- 
ledged his fitness for the office, even when foregone 
promises and pledges stood in the way of a tender of 
individual support. 

It was, indeed, solely on the strength of his per- 
sonal fitness and his public claims to the support of 
the Proprietary body, that he prosecuted his canvass. 
He had little private influence at this time; and 
some powerful interests were arrayed against him. 
Even the influential City men — and there were some 
who furthered his views — did so, solely upon public 
grounds. Foremost amongst these was Sir Thomas 
Baring, who steadily, consistently, and unwearyingly 
supported Mr. Tucker. “ If you succeed in obtain- 
ing a seat in the Direction,” he wrote, “ which I 
trust and feel persuaded you will do, upon the first 
vacancy that may occur, you will owe your success 
more to your own merits, than to any assistance 
that I may be able to give you, although that assist- 
ance may not, and I hope will not, he inconsider- 

But it was not the “ first vacancy” that he was 




destined to fill. Others had been in the field before 
him. When he first announced his intention of 
coining forward, he had intended to go to the Poll 
on the occurrence of the second vacancy. “My 
present intention,” he then said, “ is to stand for 
the second vacancy (Mr. Mills being supposed to 
occupy the first), and to go on to a second trial of 
strength should I not succeed in the first experi- 
ment ; and should tills experiment satisfy me that I 
have a fair share of public opinion in my favor. A 
second defeat will infallibly lay me up in ordinary 
for the rest of my life, as I have no wish to trouble 
my Mends and myself to no purpose. I should my- 
self be disposed to refrain from giving any pledge or 
intimation with respect to the time of my coming 
forward ; but the question has been repeatedly asked 
me since the last election, and my answer hitherto 
has been generally that I do not mean to stand 
against Mr. Mills ; but that I shall probably come 
forward on the second vacancy.” Circumstances, 
however, induced him to swerve from this reso- 

Colonel Baillie, an officer much distinguished as a 
soldier and a diplomatist, had declared himself before 
him ; and his prospects of success were so good, that 
Mr. Tucker determined not to oppose him. “ Baillie 
has been much longer in the field,” he wrote, in 
1821 , “ and is, probably, much better prepared for a 
contest than I can pretend to be. His military 
character is also of use to him just now.” And 
again, in the following year (August, 1822 ), he 



wrote to a Mend : “ As there seems now to be a 
fair prospect that Colonel BaiHie will succeed to the 
next vacancy in the Direction, may I solicit the 
favor of your powerful support when he shall have 
accomplished this object ?” 

It was subsequently to this that Sir Thomas 
Baring expressed his confidence that Mr. Tucker 
would succeed to the next vacancy ; but other can- 
didates were then pushing forward. Mr. Mills was 
elected in 1822 ; Colonel Baillie in 1823 ; and Mr. 
Masterman in the same year. The contest, which Mr. 
Tucker subsequently stood, was with Mr. Muspratt. 

Among other candidates, too, who presented 
themselves at this time, were some of Mr. Tucker’s 
oldest Mends — but the competition, if so it can be 
called, was marked upon all sides by a delicacy and 
generosity which it is a pleasure to illustrate. Mr. 
Trant, who owed much to Mr. Tucker, hesitated to 
push forward his claims, until the success of his 
friend had been secured ; but the latter, unwilling 
to impede his advance, wrote to him in September, 

“ Now, while I thought that I could only put you back a 
couple of vacancies after Baillie, I felt no repugnance at taking 
the lead, since I flattered myself that the arrangement might 
in the end conduce to the convenience and promote the success 
of all parties ; hut, foreseeing as I do, that I may myself be 
put back for an indefinite period, it would neither be fair to 
you, nor satisfactory to myself, that I should become the 
means of putting you back for an indefinite, and, perhaps, an 
extended, period. It is my wish, then, and I make it my re- 
quest, that you prosecute your canvass, and proceed otherwise, 

z 2 



in the way which may appear to you best calculated to promote 
the attainment of your object without reference or regard tome . 

“ Were I differently situated, I might determine at once to 
take the bull by the horns; but circumstanced as I am, with 
great numbers depending upon me, this is a step which I could 
not very well justify to myself, while any fair alternative re- 
mained. I must, therefore, resort to sober reflection, in the 
first instance, and endeavor to avail myself of any favorable 
chances which may occur. Should none such occur, I must, 
before I quit the field, make trial of my fortune; although, as 
matters stand at present, I see no reason whatever to expect 
success. You are a younger man; and by persevering will 
ultimately, I trust, prevail.” 

About the same time, another old friend, Mr. 
James Stuart, eager, on his own account, to secure 
a seat in the Direction, but equally reluctant to 
oppose any obstacle to Mr. Tucker’s success, thus 
addressed him on the subject : 

“ I w r as happy to find that you think you have so good a 
chance for the Direction, equally on your own account and 
that of the Public. It would be idle on my part to offer you 
my services, for 1 do not possess any means of being useful. 
Friends have begun to suggest the same object to me; and if I 
thought I should succeed without a troublesome and expensive 
canvass, I should be inclined to try. I might, perhaps, be 
assisted by some of the Court, and be countenanced by the 
Government. I should feel a strong repugnance to interfering 
with your prospects; but I trust that you are too well forward 
on the course to admit of your being embarrassed by a candi- 
date who cannot at earliest be brought in these two years to 
come. I fear that the good people in the City begin to be 
jealous of the number of Indians who have succeeded to the 

To this Mr. Tucker replied : 

“ You cannot possibly, I think, interfere with me by offering 



yourself as a candidate for the Direction, because I shall pro- 
bably be disposed of in some way or other, before you can 
come upon the ground ; but at all events, whether it be pos- 
sible or not, I would wish you to regulate your movements 
without the slightest regard to such a contingency. Act pre- 
cisely as if I were not a candidate, and pursue your own plans 
without taking me into the account in any way whatever. You 
have better counsellors than I could pretend to be; and I 
would not take upon myself on any account the responsibility of 
advising you either to stand or not to stand. I would not do 
the one, because I might involve you in inconceivable trouble; 
I would not do the other, because I would not willingly be the 
means of depriving the public of your services, or of dis- 
couraging you from seeking that which, if found, is a desirable 
acquisition to most men in our situation. I shall only, then, 
observe, simply and briefly, that there appears now to be only 
two ways of getting into the Direction ; the one, by the force 
of such a transcendent public character as shall impose upon the 
Court of Directors a sort of moral obligation to support the 
candidate ; the other, by means of extensive and powerful com- 
mercial connexions. To attempt to get in by collecting indi- 
vidual votes, is to gather water in a sieve ; but it is better 
to say no more on the subject, both because I should be sorry 
to discourage you, and because it is impossible to convey any 
adequate idea of the circumstances attending a canvass at the 
present period.” 

And both Mr. Stuart and Mr. Tucker were right, 
when they said that the City Interest was too ad- 
verse to the influx of old Indians into the Direction ; 
and that the best efforts to accumulate single votes 
would seldom bring a Candidate to the goal of suc- 
cess. Mr. Tucker had much prejudice and much 
misrepresentation to combat. Identical with a sec- 
tion, and a powerful one, of the City Interest was 
what was known as the West-India Interest. It 

342 LITE or H. ST. Q-. TUCKER. 

was given out that Mr. Tucker was hostile to these 
interests; so all the West- Indians were arrayed 
against him- The statement was no farther true 
than that he was one, who, seeing clearly the im- 
mense advantages to be conferred on the people of 
India by the due development of the resources of the 
country, was eager to stimulate production of every 
kind, and adverse to all fiscal regulations that had 
the effect of excluding Indian produce from the 
markets of Great Britain. It is true that he desired 
to bring East-Indian sugar — the growth of the 
labor of free men — fairly into competition with 
the slave-grown staple of the West-Indian Isles. 
But surely it was a strange charge to bring against 
a man, that he desired to advance the interests of 
the country he aspired to govern. 

But strange as such an objection might be, con- 
sidering all the specialities of the case — for Mr. 
Tucker, in encouraging the production of East-Indian 
sugar, had regarded no less the financial interests of 
the Company than the welfare of the people of India 
— it was a very operative one. Men, who had pro- 
mised to assist him, forsook their allegiance, when 
it was said that he was adverse to the exclusive 
interests of the West-Indian proprietors — and others, 
who had not promised, refused, with contumely, to 
support him. One Proprietor told him that he 
would not only vote against him, but that he would 
exert himself to the utmost to keep such a man out 
of the Direction* ** I replied,” raid Mr. Tucker, 
who used to tell the story with a benignant smile, 


“ that I thought this was rather hard, as he had 
never received any injury at my hands, but that he 
had, of course, a right to dispose of his votes as he 
pleased;” “ and,” added the narrator, ** he voted for 
me after all.” It happened in this way. Some time 
afterwards Mr. Tucker met the same gentleman in 
a public vehicle. They entered into conversation ; 
and presently the voter said, “ Sir, is not Sir Alured 
Clarke a great Mend of yours ?” To this Mr. Tucker 
replied that he had the honor of Sir Alured’s ac- 
quaintance. “Then,” said the voter, “tell Sir 
Alured to ask me for my votes. He has been very 
kind to a Mend of mine in India ; and if he asks for 
my votes he shall have them for you, I promise.” 
He had found out by this time that Mr. Tucker was 
not an enemy to any “ interests” except when they 
arrogated to themselves an exclusiveness injurious 
to the interests of humanity.* 

There were other questions, too, with respect to 
which Mr. Tucker encountered some difficulty in 
the course of his canvass, and had some prejudice to 
overcome. The extent to which anything like inter- 
ference with the religious usages and ceremonies of 
the people of India might with safety be permitted 

* The following note [without date] from Colonel Mark Wilks, the ac- 
complished historian of Southern India, shows how much stress was laid upon 
this question: 

“ Here are, my good friend, a tolerable large squad of votes depending 

upon a question which Sir T B could not answer, and which I do not 

like to answer positively without reference, viz., Is Mr. Tucker, or is he not, 
inimical to the West India interests? What shall I say? 

“Ever yours, 

* u Mask Wilks. 

“ ‘Is Mr. Tucker: a Methodist?* To that I have answered, « No.* 

« M.W.” 



“by the British-Indiau Government, had long been a 
vexed question, upon either side of which might be 
seen arrayed men of eminent piety and wisdom. 
But there were pretenders to both, who conceived 
themselves qualified to dogmatise and to dictate, and 
were angry when others were disposed to make the 
question one between themselves and their con- 
science, and to act, according to the light that was 
in them, and in all humility of spirit. There were 
some voters, indeed, who thought themselves privi- 
leged to catechise candidates on points of faith, and 
to call for pledges in respect of the most sacred and 
most delicate points of procedure. It was Mr. 
Tucker’s wont to refuse to make any pledges. He 
was determined to enter the Court free and unfet- 
tered, or not at all. His language upon this head 
was clear and emphatic. Here is a sample of the 
manner of his replies : 

“ TO , ESQ. 

“ Dear Sir, — There is no person, I believe, more anxious 
than myself to obtain and deserve the good-will of all good men; 
but in public life I have prescribed to myself certain rules of 
conduct, from which I hope never to deviate, and from which, 
I should hope, you would scarcely wish me to deviate. You 
will hold in mind that I am not before the public just now for 
the first time. 

“ I should have been much gratified by receiving your sup- 
port, if you could have given it with satisfaction to your own 
mind; but as I claim the right to judge and act for myself, I 
freely allow the same right to others, and I neither ask, nor 
wish for your vote, if it cannot be given me without placing a 
constraint upon your own conscience. 

“ 1 have perused with attention the publication which you 



were so good as to send me, and I thank you for it. The 
subject is not new to my mind, and I give you credit for the 
earnest zeal with which you enforce your opinions on a most 
important question; but it is not incumbent upon me to sub- 
scribe to those opinions, or to the opinions of your opponent, or 
to any abstract propositions whatever. As a public func- 
tionary (if I should ever be such), the plain and simple course 
of my duty is to keep my mind perfectly free and unfettered, 
that I may act in every case which comes before me according 
to the best of my judgment and to the dictates of my con- 
science. Upon this principle I always have acted, and upon 
this principle it is my intention to act for the time to come, if 
1 should again be called into public life. 

“ I have the honor to be, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ 3, Upper Portland-place, 1st December, 1823.” 

This letter is of general application ; but a more 
specific declaration of his views, with respect to what 
was called the “ Missionary question,” was at a little 
later period (in the course of 1824) called forth by a 
circumstance which he has himself recorded. He 
considered it advisable, indeed, to draw up a paper 
on the subject, that no misunderstanding might be 
perpetuated. The anecdote to which I refer is here 
narrated. Thus Mr. Tucker wrote : 

“ I am of opinion that the Government should never identify 
itself with the Missionary and other societies which have been 
instituted for the propagation of the Christian religion in the 
East. In the minds of the people of India, Government is 
habitually associated with the idea of power, or force; and I 
am persuaded that the slightest demonstration of an intention 
to use force for the conversion of this people would alarm their 
fears in a degree to produce immediate and serious danger. 
Our Government is established in the spirit of toleration; and 
a sort of tacit compact, or understanding, exists that we shall 



not interfere with the religion of our native subjects. Our 
Government stands in the situation of a powerful umpire* 
whose duty it is to afford equal protection to all, and. to main- 
tain in the free exercise of all civil rights (and among these, 
liberty of conscience), its subjects, of whatever description, 
with strict impartiality. I consider, then, that the Govern- 
ment could not take part in the proceedings of the Missionary 
Societies with the slightest prospect of advancing the interests 
of religion, nor without departing from those principles, upon 
a strict adherence to which its own existence essentially de- 

“ This opinion I have not hesitated to offer with freedom 
and candor, whenever I have been questioned on the subject in 
the liberal spirit of inquiry. But, when called upon to give a 
pledge that I would support particular doctrines, or co-operate 
to promote particular ends or objects, I have invariably stated 
that I would never pledge myself to any abstract proposition 
whatever : that I considered it to be the duty of every in- 
dividual, entering upon a public trust, to keep his mind free 
and unshackled, in order that he may be enabled to decide 
upon the merits of every case coming before him, according to 
the best of his judgment, and to the dictates of his conscience; 
and that, having acted upon these principles of perfect inde- 
pendence throughout my public life, no considerations can 
tempt me to deviate from them in any public situation in 
which I may hereafter be placed. 

“Having briefly stated my honest opinion on this great 
question, I shall now notice in a summary way the circum- 
stance which has given occasion to my offering the foregoing 

“ I was called upon by a Proprietor to give a pledge that I 
was friendly to particular views connected with this subject, 
and disposed to promote particular objects. This demand I 
resisted in limine; and it appeared to me more particularly 
necessary that I should make a stand, because the interference 
of the Government was distinctly pointed at. I was told, it is 
true, that ‘it was not wished that the Government should 
come forward with the sword, but with the olive-branch/ 



4 1 On my declining to give the pledge required, the Pro- 
prietor observed that ‘ it was high time for him and other 
Proprietors who thought as he did, to look out for a candidate 
who would give such a pledge ; and that it was high time for 
those, who were not Proprietors, to become suck for the same 

44 This species of intimidation was not only very offensive to 
my feelings personally, but it appeared to me highly unjusti- 
fiable on public considerations ; for if a party, or body of men, 
can combine successfully to impose conditions upon a candi- 
date, it is obvious that his independence is completely de- 
stroyed, and that he must enter upon his public station, not 
for the purpose of acting according to the dictates of his own 
judgment and conscience, but as the agent of a party. It is, 
moreover, evident that such a power of prescribing terms to a 
candidate, or of excluding him upon a refusal, might be em- 
ployed to serve the most sordid and selfish purposes. 

44 The very peremptory requisition which was made by the 
Proprietor in question, appeared to me the more unreasonable, 
as I had grounds to believe that it was not his intention to 
support me; and although this circumstance did not prevent 
my answering his questions, I certainly felt that he had no 
right to demand a gratuitous pledge from me, when he had 
no intention, even if satisfied, to afford me that support which 
might be considered as furnishing a plea for the attempt to 
exact conditions from me. 

44 Under the irritation of feeling which this circumstance pro- 
duced, the conversation was not carried on in that calm and 
dispassionate manner, which is proper and desirable in all 
cases, and more especially on an occasion where religion is the 
subject. I was, in consequence, misunderstood, and my opinions 
have since been misrepresented; but although the misstate- 
ment was calculated to prejudice my interests, I feel such a 
repugnance to everything which might lead to controversy, 
that I have refrained from noticing it ; nor do I harbour any 
anger or resentment against the individual who (unintention- 
ally, I am willing to hope) has done me the injury. 

44 In truth, it has been my wish and my study to obtain the 

348 • 


good-will of all good men, and to conciliate, as far as possible, 
even my opponents ; but, much as I have had this object at 
heart, I still could never consent to sacrifice a principle — to 
disguise an opinion — or to attain, by unworthy compliances, 
an object which, however desirable in itself, would lose all its 
value in my estimation, unless it were attained by means quite 
unobjectionable, and in a manner perfectly satisfactory to my 
own feelings.” 

From another and an unexpected quarter a 
clamor against Mr. Tucker was raised, too, at this 
time, intended, perhaps, to prejudice his chances of 
success. It was said that in his office of F inancial 
Secretary, in 1810 , he had counselled a breach of 
faith to the Public. The outcry was raised by those 
holders of public securities, who had suffered by the 
financial measures of Lord Minto’s Government, at 
the time when the threatened transfer of so large a 
portion of the Public Debt to England rendered it 
necessary to restrict the power, possessed by the In- 
dian creditor, of converting his securities into Bills 
upon the Court of Directors.* The old debt had 
been placed in course of payment, and a new eight- 
per-cent. loan, divested of the privilege of remit- 
tance, had been opened in its stead ; but this course 
had been suggested by Lord Minto himself.f Mr. 
Tucker had counselled another. This he now ex- 
plained in a letter to his friend, Sir Henry Strachey, 
concluding with the following sentences, couched in 
a strain of characteristic manliness : “ I can truly 

* See ante — Chapter VIII. 

t See letter from Lord Minto, quoted at page 242 . 



say,” he wrote, “ that throughout my public life I 
have been anxious only to do my duty to the best of 
my judgment : I am content to leave my conduct to 
be judged by the Public, and to stand or fall by the 
decision which may be passed upon it. In offering 
myself as a candidate for the Direction, my chief 
object is to obtain occupation — public and honorable 
employment ; but if any individual can believe that 
I ever counselled a measure involving a breach of 
faith to the Public, that individual will do right to 
exclude me for ever from all public trust. He will 
not, however, do right to pass judgment, in ignorance, 
in this or any other case. Por the rest I can only 
say, that whether right or wrong, I shall continue 
to act always on the principles on which I ever have 
acted ; and those must not trust me for the Puture, 
who have reason to disapprove of tlife Past.”* 

In letters to other friends, written at a somewhat 
later period, he thus spoke of his chances of suc- 
cess, and of the motives by which he was actuated : 
“ In truth,” he wrote, “ if I find that I am not likely 
to receive the support of those who have most in- 
fluence in deciding upon the fate of a candidate, I 
shall not long persevere in an unavailing attempt. I 
came forward with no unworthy motives, and it will 
cost me no violent effort to retire, if I should find 
that I am not likely to obtain the countenance and 

* The letter from which this passage is taken is given complete in the Ap- 
pendix. It may advantageously be read in illustration of a portion of the 
Eighth Chapter. 



assistance of those who act upon public grounds. 
.... I am not backward in encountering difficul- 
ties ; hut to exchange domestic comfort and inde- 
pendence for all the annoyances of a protracted 
struggle against desperate odds, is not the course 
which any prudent man would pursue.” And in 
another letter, written like the preceding one, in- the 
autumn of 1822, he said : “ If I had not believed 
that there was among the Directors, as well as 
among some of the Proprietors, a disposition to 
countenance the pretensions of those who have had 
opportunities of acquiring useful knowledge and ex- 
perience in India, I should never have exchanged 
comfort and independence for the annoyances of a 
canvass. As it is, I must now bring the thing to a 
test ; and if I am disappointed, I trust that I shall 
only have to regret the loss of time which might, 
perhaps, have been better employed.” 

And early in the following year he did “ bring the 
thing to a test” — I need not dwell any longer on 
this first canvassing period, extending as it did over 
a space of more than three years ; enough has been 
said on the subject. Mr. Mills, Colonel Baillie, and 
Mr. Masterman having been elected, Mr. Tucker de- 
termined to contest the next vacancy. Early in 
1824, Sir Thomas Reid, who on more than one occa- 
sion had occupied the chair, was removed from the 
Direction by death. A ballot at the India House 
was fixed for the 23Td of March. Three candidates 
then went to the poll — Mr. Tucker, Mr. Muapratt, 



and Sir Robert Parquhar. It was understood that 
the contest would lie between the two former. 

A ballot at the India House is destitute of all the 
rude turmoil, the noise, the confusion, the outrages, 
the broad practical humors of a contested election 
in county or borough ; but it is not without excite- 
ment of a certain kind ; and there is often a humor- 
ous side to it, too, intelligible to the initiated looker- 
on. There are no Hustings, and there are no 
speeches. The election lasts but a single day. The 
votes, written on paper, are slipped into a certain 
number of ballot-boxes, or vases, lettered alpha- 
betically, so that each elector knows in which to 
deposit his vote-paper. Scrutineers are appointed, 
and the voting over, the contents of the vases are 
counted out. This is a very simple and a very 
common-place process — not provocative, it would 
seem, of much excitement or of much mirth. But 
the activity of the friends of the candidates, during 
the election, sometimes exhibits itself in a strange 
manner ; and Mr. Tucker used to relate how, on this 
occasion, one friend carried up several of his voters 
to the wrong side of the poll, and how another was 
discovered, by some strange accident, distributing 
his opponent’s cards. These were purely uninten- 
tional gcmcheries ; but there were some accidents of 
voting on the wrong side done on purpose, and 
some resort to electioneering tactics of a very 
questionable kind. In the heat of the contest 
weapons were used, which would not have been 



employed in cooler moments, and which, cannot 
be remembered without pain by the most zealous 

The result of the Election was the defeat of Mr. 
Tucker. On examining the glasses, it was found 
that he had polled 684 votes ; and Mr. Muspratt, 

It does not seem that, as is the wont of defeated 
candidates, in like cases, he immediately began to 
prosecute another canvass, or determined to contest 
the next vacancy. He turned his thoughts, indeed, 
towards other matters, and at one time contem- 
plated the formation of a commercial partnership 
with a gentleman of considerable ability and reputa- 
tion, who was among the most active members of 
the Court of Proprietors. Announcing this to his 
friend, Mr. Sherer, w r ho had recently returned to 
India, he wrote, “You may conclude from the 
present suggestion, that I have given up all 
thoughts of the Direction. This is not exactly the 
ease, although in reality I am not so anxious about 
the attainment of the object as I was, nor so much 
disposed to make any great sacrifice for its accom- 
plishment. If there should be a break or vacancy 
in the House List, I shall come forward, and with 
a fair prospect of success ; but my present plan is to 
avoid an individual contest, until I can secure such 
support from the Directors and others as will place 
the issue beyond all uncertainty.’’ 

This was written in 1825. It was in the early 

* Sir Robert Farquhar polled 398. 



part of this year that he published his work on the 
“ Financial Situation of the East India Company.” 
It was intended to form part of a larger work ; hut 
as he intimated, in an " Advertisement” prefixed to 
it, “ the undertaking originally contemplated could 
not have been completed for a considerable time, 
and as the subject embraced in these pages was of 
more immediate interest, he had been induced to 
submit the present Essay to the Public, detached 
from other matter.” This was not the first time 
that he had fixed his ideas on the printed page. In 
1813 he had sent home for publication in Edinburgh, 
a work entitled “ Reflections on the Present State 
of Great Britain, with Relation chiefly to its Fi- 
nances.” It had been studied during his English 
furlough, and written during the monotonous leisure 
of the voyage to India.* Authorship was, there- 
fore, nothing new to him when he published his 
volume on Indian Finance — a work containing the 
gathered results of much thought and long expe- 
rience, which no one can write upon the subject 
without consulting with advantage. 

But although, for a little while, the ardor of Mr. 
Tucker’s pursuit after what had been a laudable ob- 
ject of ambition — a seat in the Home Government 
of India — had considerably abated, circumstances 
ere long tended to revive it. He had, it has been 
seen, determined to come forward to contest a seat 

* Writing to his friend Mr. Myers, of this work, he said, “ My opinions 
will not be relished by some I am aware; but I care not; my object is to 
speak truth and to do good.” 



in the Direction, only if an opportunity should he 
afforded to him at one of the periodical April elec- 
tions. On these occasions, the six members who 
a year before had “ gone out by rotation,” under- 
went the form of re-election, in the place of six 
other retiring members. All the six vacant seats 
might legally be contested ; but the custom was to 
re-elect the old members without opposition. It 
sometimes, however, happened that a vacancy was 
created by the death, resignation, or disqualification 
of one of these six Directors ; and then at the April 
election the new candidates came forward and were 
included with the old Directors in the list out of 
which six members were to be chosen. It was then 
nominally an election of six Directors, but in reality 
only of one, or of as many as there were gaps in the 
old number. Now it happened that early in 1826 
there were two of these gaps to be filled. Mr. 
Tucker determined, therefore, in pursuance of his 
old intention, to present himself to the constituency 
at the April election. Mr. James Stuart, and Cap- 
tain, afterwards Sir James Rivett Carnac, also 
announced their intention of going to the poll. 

The contest was a keen one. The scrutiny lasted 
till morning, and the anxiety of the scrutineers was 
kept alive to the last. The votes were so equally 
balan ced, that at one time, as they were being 
counted out, Mr. Tucker would be in the minority ; 
a quarter of an hour later lie would command a 
majority. It seemed at one time that the election 
was going against him, and the friendly scrutineer 



trembled for bis success. But when the last glass, 
containing tbe letters B to Z, was being counted 
out, tbe aspect of affairs brightened. A large num- 
ber of Mr. Tucker’s supporters were to be found 
under these initials. The lost ground was regained ; 
and at the end of the scrutiny it was found that he 
was in a majority of twenty-three. 

A brief note from the friendly scrutineer de- 
spatched early in the morning to Portland-place, 
announced to Mr. Tucker the result of the election. 
The majority was a small one. But there were many 
powerful interests arrayed against him ; and he was 
returned solely on the strength of his individual 
merits. Even those who had opposed him acknow- 
ledged the goodness of the choice, and some influen- 
tial men, who had thrown the whole of their weight 
into the scales on the side of the enemy, throughout 
all the years of Mr. Tucker’s candidateship, frankly 
told him that they had committed a mistake. They 
were men above the suspicion of interested motives ; 
but there were others who now rushed in to pay 
homage to success, finding high qualities in the Di- 
rector which they had never admitted in the Can- 
didate, and pretending to be the humble Mend and 
admirer of the man whom they had covertly opposed. 

2 a 2 




Mr. Tucker in the Direction — His peculiar Qualifications — His Zeal and Ac- 
tivity — Early Efforts — Questions of Land-Revenue — Resumption Opera- 
tions — Salt and Opium Revenues — The Company’s Charter — Negotiations 
with the Board of Control— Mr. Tucker’s Minutes. 

Mr. Tucker was now a member of the Court of 
Directors of the East India Company — the twenty- 
fourth part of a King. When I say that he was 
eminently fitted for the post, I do not hazard an as- 
sertion to be attributed to the partiality of the Bio- 
grapher ; but state a fact, which all who have fol- 
lowed me thus far — who, having acquainted them- 
selves with Mr. Tucker’s antecedents, reflect upon 
the character and constitution of the Company, as 
then established — will accept without a demur. The 
East India Company was, in those days, still a 
“ Company of Merchants,” and its functions were 
therefore two-fold. It was the duty of the Directors 
to regulate the Trade* of the Company, and to ad- 
minister the Government of a great Empire. Now 

* I need not explain that in 1826 it was only the China trade that re- 
mained to the Company — but still the administration of their commercial 
affairs constituted no unimportant part of their business. 


Mr. Tucker had been a merchant, and he had been 


an administrator. He was as conversant with affairs 
of Commerce as with affairs of State. He was 
thoroughly acquainted with the Revenue and Judi- 
cial systems of India. He was the best Financier 
that ever concerned himself with the Company’s ac- 
counts. He had a true regard for the interests of 
all classes of the Indian Community, from the Prince 
to the Peasant. He had a genuine respect for the 
faith of Treaties ; and, to the very core, he was an 
honest man. 

He entered upon his new duties with a full heart. 
His whole soul, indeed, was in his work. He ever 
had been an indefatigable man of business. His 
capacity for labor was unbounded. Even under the 
exhausting influence of the damp heats of Bengal, he 
had at the same time regulated the Financial ope- 
rations of the Empire, and the business of a gigantic 
mercantile house. He now saw that there was abun- 
dance of work before him ; and he regarded it with 
the liveliest satisfaction. He had gone into the Di- 
rection to work ; and his practice did not belie his 
intentions. I have heard it said that the earnest- 
ness with which he at once took part in the discus- 
sions of the Court, and the freedom with which he 
expressed his opinions, was not considered by some of 
the more punctilious members of the Court becom- 
ing in a “ young Director.” But Mr. Tucker, though 
a young Director, was not a young man. He had 
lived more than half a century in the world ; and 
had been graduating for five-and-thirty years in the 



school of Indian statesmanship. During five or six 
of these years he had been before the Court and the 
Public as an Embryo Director, and throughout that 
period he had been maturing his views of all the 
great questions which were likely to be discussed in 
the Council-chamber of Leadenhall-strect. It is not 
strange, therefore, that being not at all a forma- 
list, or a tactician, and probably altogether unac- 
quainted with the etiquette of the Assembly of which 
he was now a member, he should have gone about his 
work without a probationary interval of silence. 

Mr. Tucker entered the Court at a period of 
comparative tranquillity. Great questions were 
looming in the distance — they had not yet come on 
for discussion. But there were then, as there always 
are, many measures of internal administration 
greatly affecting the prosperity of the country and 
the happiness of the people, calling for present con- 
sideration, and therefore engaging the energies of 
the Court. Among these were matters of Land-re- 
venue — those especially of the settlement of the 
North-Western Provinces and the Resumption of 
Rent-free tenures. Prom his youth upwards, Mr. 
Tucker had been a consistent advocate and supporter 
of that great system of landed-revenue introduced 
into Bengal and Behar during the administration of 
Lord Cornwallis, known as the Permanent Settle- 
ment of Bengal The lessons, which he had learnt 
as a boy, when Thomas Law and George Barlow 
were his associates at Gyah, had remained impressed 
upon his mind in the full maturity of his years and 


his intellect. He had never departed, indeed, for a 
moment from his abiding faith — faith the result of 
personal knowledge and experience; the evidence, 
indeed, of his senses — in the wisdom of a system 
under which the Lower Provinces of India had con- 
tinued to increase in prosperity. He had been a 
party, moreover, to the promises given to the land- 
holders of the Ceded and Conquered Provinces, that 
the same system of fixed assessment should become 
the law of the land in that newly-acquired portion 
of our Indian possessions ; and he had never ceased 
to protest against the departure from the pledges 
of Lord Wellesley and Lord Minto which, subse- 
quently, under other counsels, had been ordained by 
the Government of Leadenhall-street. So it hap- 
pened, that when the measures, which finally re- 
sulted in what is now known as the Settlement of 
the North-Western Provinces, were under considera- 
tion at the India House, they did not meet with Mr. 
Tucker’s support. 

He was in a minority at the India House — but he 
did not fight the battle alone. There were one or 
two who sided with him — one especially who was 
“a host in himself.” On all questions of Land-re- 
venue — indeed, on almost all questions whether af- 
fecting the internal administration of the country 
or our exterior relations — the opinions of Mr. Ed- 
monstone were identical with those of Mr. Tucker. 
They had been brought up very much in the same 
school, and they enter tain ed for each other the 



warmest regard until death put a period to their 

Strongly, however, as he expressed himself upon 
this subject, there was not one which called forth a 
louder, a more earnest expression of opinion, than 
that which is known generally by the name of the 
Resumption of Rent-free tenures — that is, the as- 
sessment of tracts of land which, for various rea- 
sons, had been held rent-free for years, with the 
cognisance of Government, although documentary 
evidence of legal exemption was not to be adduced. 
When Mr. Tucker first entered the Court of Di- 
rectors these measures were only in their infancy. 
But he very soon perceived, both in the Court and 
at the Board of Control, indications of this pro- 
pensity to increase the revenue, at the risk not only 
of exciting popular discontent, but of violating sub- 
stantive Justice. The measures which then sug- 
gested themselves to the Authorities, were in them- 
selves moderate and forbearing in comparison with 
those which were subsequently carried into effect ; 
and it was, probably, in anticipation of the tendency 
of all such measures to gather strength from pro- 
gress, that Mr. Tucker determined at the outset to 
oppose the introduction of the “ small end of the 
wedge.” Thus, in July, 1827, the Board had intro- 
duced into a Revenue despatch a passage relative to 
certain of these rent-free estates in the Lower Pro- 
vinces, in which they said:. “As we have no doubt, 
however, that there is a considerable quantity of 
land to which the holders have no better title than 



what is constituted by the loose and indefinite set- 
tlement which became permanent, we conceive that 
the uncertainty which prevails on both sides might 
be removed with satisfaction to the holders of the 
land, though with some sacrifice on the part of Go- 
vernment, by a compromise. Something of the na- 
ture,” they added, “of what is called a fine in 
English law might be taken, perhaps in the shape 
of a stamp, for the grant of a Sunnud, confirming 
the property in the land to which this uncertainty 
attaches ; and the amount of the stamp should bear 
a proportion to the value of the property thereby 

To this the Board had added a suggestion, that 
the fine might be commuted for the payment of a 
small annual revenue — but admitted, at the same 
time, that in the permanently assessed districts the 
exercise of such power must be preceded by a Judi- 
cial Inquiry, and to this end they hinted that a 
Commission, similar to that established by the 
famous Regulation I. of 1821, might be appointed. 

Erom all this Mr. Tucker dissented : 

“ 1st. Because tlio grounds on which it is proposed to exer- 
cise the power of taxation, are acknowledged to he doubtful and 
uncertain ; while the terms of the order arc so vague and 
general, that it may be extended to cases where its application 
would be both impolitic and unjust. 

“2nd. Because any proposition for the increase of the land- 
tax within the territory permanently assessed, will be regarded 
by the people of India (and justly, too) as a violation of the 
Settlement concluded in Bengal by the Supreme Government 



in 1790, and confirmed and ratified in 1792 by the public 
authorities in this country. 

“ 3rd. Because the proceeding enjoined by the Board •will be 
attended with so many difficulties, that any increase of revenue 
likely to result from it will be but a poor compensation for the 
expense — the labor — the loss of time — and other inconveniences 
incidental to the proposed scrutiny. 

“Lastly. Because the Board’s order, if confined to the Sun- 
derbunds, or other territory, not included in the Permanent 
Settlement , is at variance with the special instructions conveyed 
to the Bengal Government in the Court’s letter of the 11th June, 
1823; and if this order be intended to have a general applica- 
tion to the settled territory , it is at variance with the paragraph 
immediately preceding it in the Court’s present despatch, and 
with the letter and spirit of the existing Regulations. . . 

After considering in detail tlie description of lands 
to which this order might be made to refer, Mr, 
Tucker proceeded thus emphatically to declare his 
opinions : 

“ That the landholders will consider the proffered * compro- 
mise’ as the first step towards the abrogation of the Permanent 
Settlement — of that settlement which is evidently viewed in 
some quarters with no very friendly feeling — cannot, I think, 
be doubted. I myself regard it in this light. It is to tear the 
seal off the bond — it is to make the first breach in a formal 
compact, which I had hoped, for the honor of the British 
name, would have been held inviolate as long as our empire in 
the East should endure : it is calculated to shake all confidence 
in our engagements, to weaken the attachment of the land- 
holders to our government, and to destroy the little credit 
which we have established by one solitary act of self-denial in 
limiting the public demand upon the land. The landholders, 
I repeat, will view this first inroad upon them with jealousy, 
distrust, and dismay; they will feel that after the first barrier 
has been broken down, further breaches will be made, and a 



less scrupulous* proceeding be hereafter resorted to; while even 
those who have no interest in the question will not fail to per- 
ceive that, if the demand of additional revenue, in the way of 
* compromise,’ or otherwise, can be enforced from an estate 
permanently assessed, upon the ground that the original con- 
tract was ‘ loose and indefinite,’ there never can be wanting a 
plea for calling in question the most sacred engagements, and 
there never can be any safe ground of reliance on the steadiness, 
the moderation, and good faith of a Government which, for its 
own purposes, assumes to itself the right to revise and set at 
nought its own acts, after the lapse of thirty-five years. . . 

That tracts of land were held rent-free, which had 
no title, legal or equitable, to such exemptions from 
assessment — that in many cases fraud had been at 
work — that boundaries had been passed, land-marks 
removed unlawfully — that by artifice and connivance 
the limits of rent-free holdings had been frequently 
extended, Mr. Tucker did not deny ; but it was his 
opinion that it would be the wiser course to submit 
to a certain amount of imposition, rather than gain 
a small accession of revenue at the cost, not only of 
great inconvenience and considerable expense, in 
the way of adjudication and collection, but of much 
personal injury and injustice, and a sense of general 
insecurity and alarm. “ I am quite satisfied,” he 
wrote, “ that the appointment of a Commissioner to 
revise and new-model that which has existed undis- 
turbed for a period of thirty-five years, would be 
received by the landholders of Bengal with terror 
and despondency. It is not difficult to issue man- 
dates which may affect a whole people ; but before we 

* This has actually occurred . — H. StG. T. 



do so let us not conceal from ourselves the possible 
consequences ; and let us at least pause before we 
determine to prosecute an object which is not pre- 
tended to be of much value, at the risk of compro- 
mising the rights and of forfeiting the attachment 
of our native subjects.” At a later period, when re- 
sumption-measures on a gigantic scale were in pro- 
gress, Mr. Tucker lifted up his voice loudly against 
them in Court, and recorded many an earnest dis- 
sent or vehement protest for the perusal of his col- 
leagues. The question was one which was much 
discussed and debated, both in India and in Eng- 
land ; and the names of many able and benevolent 
men were to be found arrayed on both sides of the 
controversy. It is not my province, in this place, to 
do more than record the fact. 

I have spoken, however, of dissents and protests, 
of discussions and debates — and it need not be con- 
cealed that Mr. Tucker was sometimes at variance 
with his colleagues, and that he was sometimes, too, 
in a minority. The necessary inference from this is, 
that either Mr. Tucker or the Court was in the 
wrong. Now, infallibility is not to be claimed for 
any human creature or any human tribunal. But 
what, it may be asked, would be thought, collec- 
tively and individually, of any body of men who were 
to dismiss the business that came before them with- 
out any expression of adverse opinions ? The dis- 
cussions of the Court of Directors are the safeguard 
of India. It is not to he expected — it is not to be 
desired — that all the members of the Court should 
hold the same opinions. A deliberative body com- 


posed of four-and-twenty gentlemen, of different 
professions, different antecedents, different political 
opinions, and different habits of mind, is intended to 
antagonise. Antagonism is a proof of zeal — a proof 
of honesty — a proof of activity. The decision arrived 
at may not in all cases he the right one, for, as I 
have said, no human tribunal is infallible. But, what- 
ever it may be, it has been reached after full con- 
sideration and discussion. Of course, among four- 
and-twenty members there are different degrees of 
zeal and ability. Some men devote more time and 
attention to the consideration of the great questions 
which come before them, and are more competent to 
form correct opinions than others; but the aggre- 
gate result is the devotion of much thought and the 
application of much knowledge to their elucidation ; 
and, at all events, every case is decided upon what is 
believed to be its* merits, without any detraction or 
diversion on the score of party feeling or political 

Among the earliest subjects, too, to which he 
directed his attention, after taking his seat in the 
India House, were the cultivation of Cotton and 
Sugar, and the Salt and Opium ^Revenues. There 
was no man more diligent in his efforts to further 
the production of the staple commodities — indeed, in 
every possible way to develope the resources — of a 
country which was being sacrificed to the commer- 
cial cupidity of the British capitalist. Against the 

* I write this in the present tense. Though the “Four-nnd-Twenty M Di- 
rectors will soon belong to the Past, the argument will hold good when 
the number is reduced to eighteen, though not in the same degree. 



polity which excluded from Great Britain the pro- 
duce of the Agriculture and the Manufactures of 
India, whilst it threw wide open the ports of India 
to the produce of the British Isles, he earnestly and 
indignantly remonstrated. He saw that the most 
diligent promoters and the most clamorous expo- 
nents of that policy — that the men who were doing 
their utmost to depress the commerce of India and 
to impoverish the people — were fast becoming the 
loudest inveighers against the imputed misrule under 
which, as they said, a once flourishing country was 
sinking into decay. On the Salt-Tax and the Opium 
Monopoly he wrote, from first to last, with un- 
deviating consistency — maintaining that there were 
inherent objections to both sources of Revenue, but 
that the amount which they yielded to the State was 
necessary for purposes of government. But he laid 
down as the principle that should regulate the collec- 
tion of these taxes, that whereas, in the case of the 
Salt-duties, it should be our object to levy the neces- 
sary amount of revenue upon the largest possible 
quantity of the article taxed; in the case of the 
Opium-tax the system should be the reverse — the 
amount should be drawn from the smallest possible 
quantity that could yield the necessary revenue. In 
the latter instance, he subsequently declared that 
this salutary principle had been violated; and he 
both deplored and condemned the extended produc- 
tion of the deleterious drug.* 

* See, for papers on th#se subjects, Tucker’s “ Memorials of Indian Go- 



To questions of Finance he naturally devoted no 
little attention at this time ; and his opinions were 
much sought by his colleagues. To one subject, 
especially, in connexion with the Financial affairs 
of the Company’s Government, he applied hims elf 
with no common earnestness. The question of the 
Currency was then before the Company. Great in- 
convenience had long resulted from the different 
descriptions of silver coins which were used both 
in Government and Commercial transactions. The 
rupee was the common coin of the country; but 
there were all sorts of rupees in circulation. What 
was known as the Sicca rupee, had, in 1773, been 
recognised by the British Government as the legal 
coin of the country. But there had been other 
rupees of different standards in circulation — the 
Benares rupee, the Bombay rupee, the Furruckabad 
rupee, the Madras and Arcot rupee — and then there 
was the Sonaut rupee, which was rather the nomi- 
nal representative of value than an existing coin. 
The Sonaut rupee, an old and much worn piece of 
silver money, had, indeed, been called in, in 1793 ; 
but although the coin itself had disappeared, it had 
continued to be the common standard for the mea- 
surement of all military disbursements. The troops 
had been actually paid in the current coin of the 
provinces in Avhich they were posted. Thus, in the 
Lower Provinces, they had been paid in the Sicca 
rupee, according to the true standard of the value of 
the silver. As the Sicca rupee was the most valuable 
coin (being nearly five per cent, above the Sonaut), 



there was, of course, a deduction or discount when 
the coin came to be counted out. For every 104 
rupees and 6 annas (Sonaut) a hundred rupees 
(Sicca) were paid. In other parts of India, how- 
ever, the current coin — the Benares, Furruckabad, 
Arcot rupee, &c. — so nearly assimilated to the re- 
cognised standard of payment that it was actually 
used, rupee for rupee, in the settlement of accounts. 
All this, as I have said, caused great public incon- 
venience ; and it appeared both to the authorities in 
India and in England, that the establishment of an 
uniform coinage would be attended with advantageous 
results. Mr. Tucker perceived the advantages of such 
a system, but his practised eye saw clearly that it 
was surrounded by difficulties and dangers, only to 
be avoided by wisdom and wariness in the execution 
of the details. He contended that both in the ad- 
justment of the pay of the public establishments, 
and the realisation of the revenue, either a sacrifice 
of the dues of Government, or an injustice to the 
public, was likely to arise from the alteration of the 
coin ; and at the end of an elaborate minute, show- 
ing that minute acquaintance with the details of the 
Indian currency which was to be expected from so 
eminent a Financier, he thus summed up his cau- 
tionary suggestions : 

“ I submit that the following questions must be decided 
before we can proceed to reduce the value of the established 
currency of Bengal in the proportion of six and a half per 
cent. : 

“ First. Whether the pay of the Bengal army shall be regulated 



anew, in order to give the officers and men in the new cur- 
rency, or Arcot rupee, the full value of their present regulated 
pay in Sonaut rupees ; that is — whether an addition of about 
two per cent, shall be made to the present complement of pay in 
the Sonaut rupee. 

“ Secondly. Whether the land-revenue of Bengal shall be 
re-assessed, in order that the Government may obtain a greater 
number of rupees in Tale, in proportion to their diminished 
value; or whether the Government, in order to avoid the re- 
proach of having violated a solemn compact, shall determine to 
sacrifice a sum of not less than twenty lakhs of rupees in annual 

“ Thirdly- Whether, in the event of its being determined 
not to make such a sacrifice of income, the Government will 
compel the Zemindars in the settled territory to adhere to the 
existing pottahs, or leases, and to make that sacrifice of effective 
income which the Government itself will not make ; or whether 
they will authorise the landholders to recall and cancel the 
present pottahs , and to re -adjust the rents of their Ryots and 
under-tenants upon the same principle on which the Govern- 
ment re-assess the public Revenue. 

“ These questions involve considerations of great moment; 
and whatever alternative may be embraced, considerable incon- 
venience is to be apprehended. We cannot, however, escape 
from the dilemma, if it be resolved to proceed in effecting the 
equalisation of the currency ; and all I would further urge on 
the present occasion is, that we proceed with great caution and 
deliberation — that the difficulties of the case be fairly met, and 
that, in our anxiety to obviate them, no step be taken incon- 
sistent with the obligations of good faith, and with that spirit 
of justice by which the proceedings of a Government ought 
always to be characterised.” 

It would take not one, but many volumes, to 
enter into all the historical eiremnstances connected 
with Mr. Tucker’s very varied minutes. It is suffi- 
cient to state, in this instance, that an uniform silver 



coin, known as the Company’s rupee — a coin bear- 
ing the image and superscription of the Queen of 
England instead of the old Mogul legend, acknow- 
ledging the supremacy of the House of Timour — 
was struck at the Company’s mints, and substituted 
for the heterogeneous coinage of old times ; and that 
the measure was carried out with so much wisdom 
and discretion that no evil resulted from the change. 

But a greater question than any of these was now 
pressing forward, for the consideration not only of 
the Court of Directors collectively, but of every 
individual member of the great Corporation. The 
Charter, under which India was governed and the 
exclusive trade with China was carried on, was now 
approaching the close of its permitted span of ex- 
istence; and it was generally believed that some 
vital changes would be introduced into the Act 
under which thenceforth British connexion with 
India was to be maintained. The previous Charter 
had deprived the Company of the monopoly of the 
trade with India ; and it was now apprehended that 
the Legislature would seek to deprive them alto- 
gether of the remnant of their exclusive mercantile 
privileges, and convert the Court of Directors into a 
purely administrative body. 

The country had been, for years, becoming more' 
and more inveterate against all monopolies. The 
genius of Free-trade was pushing onward with re- 
sistless strides. The accumulation of Capital and 
the advances of Science had rendered Englishmen 
more alive to the necessity of opening out new fields 



for the exercise of their commercial activity; and 
without any very great knowledge of the subject, 
they argued that what was worth keeping was worth 
taking, and that if any benefit were derivable from 
the trade with China, it ought to be enjoyed by the 
country at large. Before the Charter- Act of 1813 
had numbered half of its allotted years, Committees 
had been appointed to investigate the whole question 
of Exclusive Trade, and they had reported in favor 
of a relaxation of existing restrictions. It was not 
consistent with public faith to interfere with the 
privileges of the East India Company until the ex- 
piration of their Charter — but it was generally felt 
that the monopoly could not survive the Act under 
which it was then maintained. 

Some vague Parliamentary discussions in 1829 
were succeeded by a substantial movement, in the 
early part of the following year, calling for an in- 
quiry into “ the present state of the affairs of the 
East India Company.” Lord Ellenborough in one 
House, and Mr. Peel in the other, moved for the ap- 
pointment of Select Committees, at the beginning 
of Eebruary ; and from that time the investigation 
into both the commercial and administrative affairs 
of the Company proceeded with but slight intermis- 
sion. In July the Commons’ Committee reported 
on the China Trade ; and in October the Chairman 
and Deputy-Chairman of the Court of Directors 
were invited to an interview with the Premier and 
the President of the India Board ;* and informed 

* The Duke of Wellington and Lord Ellenborough. 

2 b 2 



that, in all probability, on the expiration of the ex- 
isting Charter, the Government of India would be 
left in* the hands of the Company, but that the 
China monopoly would cease. From that time the 
Court of Directors were in a continual state of con- 
troversy with his Majesty’s Ministers relative to the 
arrangements which were to be made for the future 
management of their affairs, and in these contro- 
versies Mr. Tucker took no undistinguished part.* 
Before the close of the year 1830, the Government, 
of which the Duke of Wellington was the Chief, was 
compelled to resign the seals of office ; and a Whig 
Cabinet was formed, in its place, under the direction 
of Lord Grey. In the distribution of the new 
Ministry, the chief seat at the India Board was 
allotted to Mr. Charles Grant. The distinguished 
son of a distinguished father — one who had gra- 
duated in the best school of Indian politics, and 
who, from his very boyhood upwards, had been en- 
deavoring to render himself familiar with the his- 
tory, the institutions, and the usages of our Eastern 
Empire — one, who twenty years before, when yet a 
young member and a young man, had earned a great 
Parliamentary reputation by a series of able speeches 
on the subject of Indian Government — he was, of 
all the adherents of Lord Grey, the one best fitted 
by his personal qualifications to preside at the Board 

* In a work of this description, I am compelled to touch briefly upon this 
important chapter of Indian history; but the negotiations relative to the 
renewal of the Charter have been narrated so much in detail, and with so much 
clearness by Mr. Thornton, in his fifth volume, that I can hardly regret the 
compulsory brevity of my own account of these transactions. 



of Control. His qualifications were not solely of 
an intellectual character. He had high moral 
qualities, which rendered those who were deeply 
concerned for the welfare of India and her people 
hopeful in the extreme of the good results which 
might flow from his connexion with her affairs. He 
was a humane, and, in intention, he was a just 
man. His integrity was unquestioned. It was said 
of him, at a later period, that he was indolent and 
compliant — that he lacked energy and firmness, and, 
indeed, all the sterner and robuster qualities. But 
these defects must have grown upon him, for it is 
certain that during the greater part of his tenure of 
office, as President of the India Board, he exhibited 
an extraordinary amount of activity, and sometimes, 
as will be gathered from a subsequent chapter of 
this Memoir, a degree of firmness which, in a bad 
cause, degenerated into obstinacy. Upon Mr. Grant 
now devolved the duty of incubating the new East 
India Bill, and superintending, on the part of the 
Government, the necessary negotiations with the 

As the son of an old East India Director — as one, 
too, who had battled manfully on the side of the 
Company — the new President of the India Board 
was little likely to bring to the performance of 
his duties any prejudices against that great Cor- 
poration. It was certain, however, that the Com- 
pany’s exclusive privileges of Trade must cease and 
determine in 1834. The country had determined 
that question ; and whether a Wellington or a Grey 

374 . 


were supreme in Downing- street — an Ellenborough 
or a Grant in Cannon-row — it was equally useless to 
endeavor to obtain a reprieve for the monopoly 
against which sentence of death had been irrevo- 
cably written down. The Commercial affairs of the 
Company were to be wound up; there was no 
question in the public mind about that — but there 
was a question as to how they were to be wound up 
— how the commercial assets of the Company were 
to be disposed of consistently with the just claims 
of that body and the interests of the British nation. 
The Company, however, battled manfully for the 
preservation of their old privileges ; and it must be 
acknowledged that they brought forward many sub- 
stantial arguments in their defence, and exploded 
many injurious errors which had been disseminated 
by their opponents. But they had to contend 
against a violent pressure from without. It had 
long ceased to be a question to be decided by argu- 
ment. The temper of the times was not favorable 
to the maintenance of monopolies of any kind. The 
nation had made-up its mind upon the subject. The 
Court argued, and argued truly, that the Commerce 
of the Company had been advantageous to the inte- 
rests of India, inasmuch as that its profits had been 
devoted to purposes of territorial administration. 
But it had ceased to be an Indian question — a 
question between the Company and the people of 
India ; it was a question between the Company and 
the people of England. And whatever might be 


the gain of the monopoly to India, England de- 
clared that she could not away with it. 

When, therefore, on the 10th of December, 1832, 
at a conference between Lord Grey and Mr. Grant 
on one side, and the Chairman and Deputy-Chairman 
on the other, a memorandum, or paper of Hints, 
illustrative of the Government plan for the future 
management of Indian affairs, was laid before the 
latter, it cannot have been matter of surprise to 
them that the first words it contained were “ The 
China monopoly to cease.” 

It is beyond the scope of this Memoir, and would 
hardly answer any useful purpose at the present 
time, to enlarge upon the discussions of 1832-33, 
relative to the abandonment of the China Trade, or 
on the course which was pursued by the Court of 
Directors and the Court of Proprietors. It is enough 
that, at every stage of the proceedings, Mr. Tucker 
was active among the active, and drew up many 
vigorously -written papers upon the Government 
scheme. Of the measure, in respect of the aboli- 
tion of the trade, he wrote in one of those minutes : 
“ Viewed in its commercial and financial relations 
and bearings, it impresses me with the most serious 
apprehension. A more sudden or violent change in 
the commercial policy of a country has rarely been 
witnessed; and although it may not be attended 
with permanent evil, it must produce temporary de- 
rangement. The accustomed channel of Commerce 
has been broken up. The stream has been diverted 



from its course, and those noble establishments 
which flourished on its banks are now doomed to 
desolation and ruin. We ought to have made a 
stand at the threshold, and to have insisted, as a 
preliminary condition, that time should at least be 
allowed us to wind up the commercial concerns of 
the Company, and to prepare for the gradual intro- 
duction of those changes in our commercial system, 
which may have so extensive an influence upon the 
national interests, and more immediately upon the 
interests of this vast metropolis.” 

It was Mr. Tucker’s opinion, as may in part be 
gathered from the above passage, that the Company 
sacrificed their chances of success by holding back 
at times when they ought to have pressed forward ; 
and that if they had come out more boldly to meet 
their opponents, they would not have been so worsted 
in the contest. It was his opinion, as early as 1830, 
that it was expedient for the Court of Directors to 
prepare their case, by collecting and arranging do- 
cuments, illustrative of their good administration of 
the Company’s territories, so that there might be 
something before the country in answer to the vehe- 
ment and unscrupulous attacks of their opponents : 

“About two years ago,” he wrote in 1832, “I suggested 
the expediency of our appointing a Select Committee to collect, 
arrange, and digest evidence which might bear upon the many 
important questions connected with the administration of India, 
and with the commercial affairs of the East India Company, 
then about to undergo public investigation ; and I urged that 
such a body of evidence was not only essential to facilitate the 
labors of the two Committees of Parliament, but that it was 



highly necessary with a view to justify the past administration 
of the Company, and to substantiate its claim to a continuance 
of public confidence. This opinion I have since repeated on 
different occasions; and I now find that the late reference to 
us from the Board of Commissioners point directly to some of 
the objects of inquiry contemplated by me . 

“ My suggestion was overruled, and the Committee of Cor- 
respondence, consisting of eleven members, with two associates 
subsequently added, was appointed * specially to watch over the 
proceedings in Parliament, so far as regards the East India 
Company,’ and to report, from time to time, to the Court, &c. 
In other words, a special, a most difficult, and most important 
duty merged into the ordinary business of a Committee, which 
has already, in my opinion, more work imposed upon it than 
it can successfully execute. 

“ I am bound to believe that the Committee have been most 
sedulous in the discharge of the trust reposed in them; but, 
with the exception of a secret report of a conference held 
with his Majesty’s late Ministers in October, 1830, I have not 
yet seen the produce of their labors. If evidence has been col- 
lected and arranged to assist our own deliberations, or to aid the 
inquiries of his Majesty’s Government, or of Parliament, it has 
not yet been submitted to the Court. If conferences have since 
taken place, if the views and intentions of the present Minis- 
ters have been ascertained, if the basis of any plan for the 
future administration of India, and for regulating the Company’s 
trade, has been propounded and discussed, I have yet to learn 
what has been done, and what it is proposed to do. I have 
been asked by persons who take a deep interest in the welfare 
of India, and who have a deep stake in the well-being of the 
East India Company, if we have no case to bring forward — if 
we have no means of repelling the attacks which are so perse- 
veringly made upon us by our indefatigable opponents. In my 
opinion we have a case, and a very strong case ; but we have 
taken no steps to bring it fairly before Parliament and the 
Public. The members of this Court have not yet, to my know- 
ledge, interchanged opinions upon the vital questions which 



must be present to the mind of every man who knows anything 
of India, and who takes an interest in the prosperity of that 
country. We have not communed together for the purpose of 
coming to an understanding with respect to the course which 
we ought to pursue in order to obtain a renewal of our Charter, 
both as the means of securing to the natives of India the bless- 
ings of good government, and of continuing in the East India 
Company one great commercial function which it has so long 
exercised, and which, I maintain, it is still competent to exer- 
cise with signal benefit to the national interests. I own that I 
feel indignant at the idea of our tamely and silently submitting, 
without even a struggle, to the annihilation of a great political 
and commercial body, which has occupied so distinguished a 
place in history, and from whose councils and arms a ray of 
glory was shed over the mother country, at times when discom- 
fiture and misfortune in the western hemisphere had cast a 
shade over its destinies. 

u But shall I be told, as I have been told in debate, that our 
policy is to v T ait, and our best position that of defence? I con- 
tend, on the contrary, that we are in a false position — that we 
have waited too long — and that every days delay in bringing 
forward our case is injurious to the Company. Are we to wait 
until this Company is left a mere wreck to abide the contempt 
of its assailants? to contend, in the last hour of existence, 
against popular clamor and prejudice, popular ignorance and 
commercial cupidity? 

“ Again, I may be told that it will be more prudent to stand 
aloof until the near approach of the period when the Charter 
expires; as his Majesty’s Ministers wili then be so embarrassed 
with the difficulty and magnitude of the undertaking, that they 
must shrink from it, and allow everything to proceed as here- 

“This would be both a foolish and a dishonest policy, which 
my colleagues, I am sure, can never countenance. Public men 
are rarely seen to possess this sort of salutary diffidence — this 
distrust of their own powers; and it would not, I apprehend, 
be easy to persuade them that they are not sufficiently imbued 



with that knowledge and experience, and with those sound and 
comprehensive views of Indian policy, which are so essential to 
the preservation of our vast empire in the East. 

“ Still, it may he urged that the very delicate question of 
settling the future constitution of India, and of arranging the 
Company’s commercial concerns, must be left to the discretion, 
wisdom, and diplomatic talents of the Chairs, who are the offi- 
cial organs of the Court in conducting all negotiations with his 
Majesty’s Ministers. I have the utmost respect for our high 
functionaries; but I cannot consent to place my judgment 
wholly in abeyance. Nor can they exempt me from the per- 
formance of my own duty. Every Director is called upon to 
take part in the proceedings of the Court ; and must act upon 
his own individual responsibility. We have all undertaken a 
sacred trust — we have all sworn to perform the duties incidental 
to it, according to the best of our j udgment, and there is no 
power which can grant us a dispensation if those duties be 
neglected. But even admitting that the Chairs can in the first 
instance most conveniently conduct a negotiation with his Ma- 
jesty’s Ministers, I still think that they ought to be fortified 
with the opinions of the Court, and that we ought to be pre- 
pared with a clear and comprehensive statement of our case. 
When the last Charter was to be renewed, the negotiations 
commenced in 1808, or five years before its expiration; whereas 
we are now within about two years of the termination of our 
present Charter, with less support from the Government to rest 
upon, and with stronger opposition from the Public to contend 
against — without our having yet made, as far as I can perceive, 
any progress whatever to set ourselves right with that public, 
and to support the just claims of the East India Company, 
whose accountable stewards we are, or we ought to be.” 

There is much in this which, after a lapse of twenty 
years, may he read with advantage by those w hom it 
most nearly concerns. Mr. Tucker believed that, at 
this time, when the East India Company were about 
to be put upon their trial, they committed a grand 



error in not concerting measures calculated to prove 
to the world that they had not been unprofitable 
stewards. I am afraid that this is a chronic ailment, 
and that years have not mitigated its severity. It 
must he regarded, indeed, as a species of slow suicide. 
Popular applause is an aliment necessary to the con- 
tinued existence of all governments; and the go- 
vernment of the East India Company has been re- 
solutely starving itself to death. A contempt of 
public opinion may be the growth of a consciousness 
of right ; it may be very beautiful in theory, very 
magnanimous in principle; but practically, as the 
world goes, it is a fatal mistake. People are always 
willing to give us full credit for our vices ; but they 
are slow to take our virtues for granted. An indi- 
vidual may choose for himself whether he will 
proclaim them. But if the East India Company, 
or any other governing body, believe that the con- 
tinuance of their government is beneficial to the 
people who are subject to it, they have no right 
inertly to suffer it to lie under a cloud of misappre- 
hension and disgrace. 

Mr. Tucker complained that at this time the 
Court insisted upon playing a waiting-game; and 
was of opinion, that if they had bestirred themselves 
earlier they would have obtained better terms for 
themselves. It was his maxim throughout life 
never to put off to to-morrow what can possibly be 
done to-day. He never played a waiting-game. 
The Court of Directors, on the other hand, have 
always waited until it has been too late to retrieve 
the ground which they have lost at the outset. It 



is the true policy in these cases to take the initiative. 
I believe that the position of the Company would be 
far better than it is, at the present time, if they had 
thought more of public opinion, and had been less 
inclined to wait. 

But although, perhaps, the Court armed them- 
selves too late to carry on the war to a triumphant 
issue, they gained some successes in the course of it. 
Against several of the propositions of the Crown 
Ministers, relating both to the local and the home 
Governments, they protested with consistency and 
vigor. And the result of the controversies between 
the two authorities was that several important 
points were conceded to the Company, and the draft 
of the Act for the future Government modified until 
it took shape more in accordance with the declared 
wishes of the Court. 

In the contest for these changes Mr. Tucker took 
no undistinguished part. He was of opinion that 
the establishment of the fourth Presidency (of Agra) 
would strengthen and improve the administrative 
machinery, and he believed that if the Government 
Avere placed in the hands of an experienced Com- 
pany’s officer, like Sir Charles Metcalfe, there would 
be little need of the aid of a Council. But he did 
not think that, as a general rule, and under other 
circumstances, it Avould be expedient to dispense 
Avith the Councils of the minor Presidencies.* He 
Avas opposed to excessive centralisation. He did not 
think that it Avas desirable to vest the sole legislative 
power in the Supreme Council ; and he was entirely 

* See Minute dated July 2, 1833, quoted in Memorials of Indian Government 



of opinion that uniform legislation for the divers 
peoples of India was neither desirable nor prac* 
ticable.* He did not recognise the expediency of 
enlarging, to the proposed extent, the Supremo 
Council of India, and he protested against the at" 
tempt to deprive the Court of Directors of the abso- 
lute and uncontrolled power to appoint all the or- 
dinary members of Council, f And the representa- 
tions of himself and his colleagues on these points 
were attended with a large amount of success. The 
minor Presidencies were not stripped of their 
Councils. The new Presidency of Agra became' 
a Lieutenant-Governorship under an experienced 
Company’s officer. The number of the Supreme 
Council was reduced ; and the absolute right of ap- 
pointing Councillors remained in the hands of the 

On the free admission of Europeans to all parts of 
India Mr. Tucker entertained very strong opinions. 
He believed that some restrictions were necessary to 
protect the natives of the country against outrage 
and oppression ; and he used his utmost endeavors 
to resist a measure} which he believed to be laden 
with consequences injurious to the people of the 
soil. Against that part, too, of the proposed Acl 
which decreed the abolition of Slavery throughout 
the Company’s territories, he lifted up his voice, nol 
because he did not hold slavery in as much abhor- 
rence as the introducers of the clause themselves, 

* See Minute dated July 2, 1833, quoted in Memorials of Indian Govern- 

t Ibid 

t See Letter to Mr. Blunt, post, pp. 470 , 471 . 



but because, whilst he knew that the evil existed 
only in a very modified form in India, if indeed it 
were more than a name, he saw that much mischief 
might arise from the abolition of it, and much 
misery to the “ slaves” themselves. And he suc- 
ceeded in preventing all abrupt and violent inter- 
ference ; so that in the end there was an ample 
recognition of the principle of universal liberty, and 
a due promotion of the interests of humanity, with- 
out any of those attendant evils which legislative 
indiscretion might unknowingly have associated 
with them. 

But that which above all things Mr. Tucker ex- 
erted himself most strenuously to secure was the 
independence and efficiency of the Court of Direc- 
tors. He apprehended that, under the provisions of 
the new Act, the Court would be reduced to a mere 
shadow — a name, without substance and without 
power — a delusion, leading men astray from the 
truth, and obscuring the responsibility which ought 
to be patent to the world. One very important 
concession had been made to the Company. In the 
original plan of the Government it had been con- 
templated to reserve to the Crown Ministers a veto 
in the case of the recall of the Governor-General of 
India, or the minor Governors ; but the Court had 
contended for the absolute right of recalling these 
functionaries, and had secured the power to them- 
selves. This at all events had the effect of prevent- 
ing the entire Government of India from falling into 
the hands of the President of the India Board and 
the Governor-General ; but it still appeared that the 



power of the former to over-ride the Court was too 
great, and as a check upon that authority they con- 
tended that the right of publicity — that is, of laying 
before Parliament their protests against the Board’s 
measures — should he conceded to them. This, how- 
ever, Government resisted. The Chairman and 
Deputy-Chairman protested against this resistance 
— Mr. George Smith and Mr. Tucker followed on 
the sam e side.But their remonstrances were of no 
avail. The Chairs were resolute ; the last two 
points for which they had contended were the exten- 
sion of the Guarantee Fund and the right of pub- 
licity; and now, in August, 1833, they declared 
their unalterable conviction that, whilst the Pro- 
prietors were justly entitled to the former, the latter 
was “ indispensable to the independence of the Court 
of Directors;” and on these grounds they refused 
to recommend the Ministerial Bill to their consti- 
tuents. Mr. Tucker, however, argued on the other 
hand, that, defective as was the Bill, and insufficient 
as were the powers of the Court, it would still be 
beneficial to the interests of India that the Govern- 
ment should remain in the hands of the Company. 
“ Upon the whole,” he said, “ after long and anxious 
reflection, I am compelled to say to our constituents 
(not with perfect confidence I own), accept the Bill 
with all its defects ; and let us by our prudence and 
firmness remedy as far as we can the disadvantages 
of our situation ; and by the faithful and zealous 
fulfilment of our duties, promote to the utmost the 
prosperity and happiness of the people.” 




The Court of Directors and the Board of Control— Powers of the Board- 
Collisions between the two Authorities — The Case of William Palmer and 
Co. — Mr. Tucker’s Dissent — The Writ of Mandamus — Conduct of the Court 
— The Case of the Lucknow Bankers — Firmness of the Court — Conduct of 
Mr. Tucker— The Mandamus stayed. 

Whilst tlxese negotiations for the renewal of the 
Company’s Charter were evoking the energies and 
activities of the Court, other circumstances, of a 
more accidental but more exciting character, were 
keeping all these energies and activities on the* 

By the Act of Parliament under which India was 
governed, it was intended that, in respect of all 
matters relating to the internal administration of 
the country and our ordinary dealings with the 
Native States, the originating power should he pri- 
marily that of the Court of Directors of the East 
India Company. But that in questions relating to 
Peace and War, and our negotiations with Eoreign 
Powers, the whole management should he entrusted 
to the President of the Board of Control, and a 
Secret Committee of the Company (consisting of the 
Chairman, the Deputy-Chairman, and the Senior 

2 c 



Member of the Court) — the President being, in fact, 
a Secretary of State for Indian affairs, and the mem- 
bers of the Secret Committee performing the func- 
tions only, as Mr. Tucker happily expressed it, of 
“ a Secretary or a Seal.” 

Oyer the solution of these questions of Peace and 
"War — questions into which European politics might 
sometimes largely enter — it was right, perhaps, that 
the Crown Minister should exercise undisputed con- 
trol. It was assumed that he took counsel with his 
colleagues in the Cabinet, and that every important 
measure affecting our relations with Foreign States, 
or the extension of our Indian Empire, was under- 
taken with their cognisance and sanction, and after 
full inquiry and due deliberation. This may or may 
not in reality have been the case. An arrogant, self- 
sufficient President might scorn to consult his official 
chief ; or, with strong personal prejudices and pre- 
dilections, might seek the advice of one particular 
member of the Ministry to the exclusion of all the 
rest. But men neither saturated with prejudice nor 
case-hardened in egotism, were not incorrectly be- 
lieved to express the views and to carry out the de- 
signs of their colleagues, when they entered upon 
great measures affecting the question of Peace orWar 
with Foreign Powers. If such authority as this were 
not in the hands of the Crown Minister, or of some 
functionary in immediate connexion with the Cabi- 
net, it is clear that the British Government might 
often be greatly perplexed and embarrassed by the 
prosecution of measures undertaken in India and, to 



all outward appearance, of purely Indian signifi- 
cance, but still bearing upon our political relations 
with States beyond the Company’s cognisance and 

Taking this view of the case, it was impossible 
not to recognise the necessity of vesting the chief 
political authority in the representative of the 
Crown. Whether all the real power being thus in 
the hands of the President of the India Board, the 
responsibility should not more openly and intel- 
ligibly have attached to him — whether despatches 
emanating from this functionary should have been 
dated from the India House, and signed by the 
representatives of the Company — whether, in short, 
the institution of the Secret Committee should have 
been maintained, as a Piction or a Pact, according 
to the character and the caprice of the Crown Minis- 
ter,* was a question, and a very important one, 
which forcibly suggested itself to Mr. Tucker’s mind, 
and which, perhaps, I shall be called upon to con- 
sider in another chapter. In the mean while it may 
be said that, whether for better or for worse, such 
was the constitution of the Government of India, 
and such the intent of the Act of Parliament under 
which it was carried on. But in respect of the other 
department of Government, of the general adminis- 

* I say this, because a not over-confident Minister will consult his India- 
House colleagues and make use of their information, if he will not adopt 
their opinions. In this respect the utility of the Secret Committee is not to 
he questioned — but all depends upon the character of the man. And under 
any circumstances the measures are really those of the Crown Minister, 
whilst the outward responsibility is the Company’s, in whose name they are 

2 c 2 



tration of the internal affairs of our East Indian 
possessions, the intent of the Act was not so clear, 
the authority of the Board was not so definite. That 
there was any obscurity about the Act, or any 
doubts about the extent of the Board’s powers, in 
the department of internal administration, would 
not be implied, in this place, if it were not that the 
records of the East India Company abundantly 
prove that the boundaries of the Board’s autho- 
rity, as understood at the India House, have been 
continually passed, and the Company’s interpreta- 
tion of the Act falsified by the practice of the con- 
trolling powers. Such, however, was the case. It 
was the complaint of the Company that the Board 
exceeded its legitimate authority, and often reduced 
the entire Court, in its general administrative capa- 
city, to a fiction as entire as that represented by the 
Secret Committee. How this happened it is not 
difficult to show. The mode of procedure was this : 
A despatch to one of the local Governments, drafted 
by a ministerial officer in the India House, was laid, 
perhaps after private perusal and annotation by some 
of the members, before an assembled Court; and 
there discussed, revised — rejected or adopted. If 
adopted, it was forwarded in due course for the 
approval of the Board of Control. Then began the 
work of correction. Then, sometimes, began what 
has been called “ the battle of the inks.” The in- 
exorable red-ink rode down the black, trampling 
under foot whole squadrons of paragraphs, and 
drawing itself up, in orderly array, with conquering 



front, all a-down the margins. The massacre was 
often complete ; it stopped not short of total exter- 
mination. And the luckless despatch then went 
hack to the Court, without a trace, perhaps, of its 
original meaning left upon it — and yet it was to he 
adopted as theirs, to be signed with their names, and 
to be sent out for the guidance of their servants. 

For such alterations as these the Board were 
under legal obligations to assign their reasons. But 
whether those reasons were good or bad the Court 
were compelled to be bound by them. They might 
endeavor, by respectful representations, to mollify 
the controlling power; and individually or collec- 
tively the Directors might protest ; but if they re- 
fused to forward the despatch to India, a writ of 
Mandamus might be issued against them ; and then, 
if they still continued recusant, there was no alter- 
native but a prison. 

It may be supposed that to such a length as this 
the antagonism of the two bodies did not often pro- 
ceed ; but it happened that in the years 1832 and 
1833, there were two memorable conflicts of which 
History has taken account, and concerning which, 
inasmuch as Mr. Tucker’s name is conspicuous in the 
recorded proceedings of both affrays, this narrative 
must not be silent. 

The first of these is known as the Hyderabad 
case — the case of the claims of William Palmer and 
Co., on account of certain sums alleged to be due to 
their House by the ostensible Prime Minister of the 
Nizam. To give a detailed account of a transaction 



which is illustrated by a correspondence extending 
over several folio volumes, is impossible in such a 
work as this — and if it were possible it would not 
be desirable. It is enough that certain English 
gentlemen established a House of business in the 
independent state of Hyderabad, in the Deccan, and 
became money-lenders on a gigantic scale. The ruler 
of Hyderabad, known as the Nizam, was a puppet in 
the hands of his Ministers. The most influential 
of these, one Chundoo Lall, to whom the financial 
management of the country was entrusted, and who 
was rightly described as “a creature of British 
power,” sought a refuge from embarrassments which 
the prudent management of the resources of the 
kingdom might have averted, in pecuniary dealings 
with the English firm ; and thus plunged the State 
into a sea of difficulty, compared with which the 
troubled waters from which he had sought extrica- 
tion were smooth and shallow in the extreme. Not 
that it was now the Minister who paid the penalty 
of these usurious loans. He was a powerful but 
irresponsible go-between. Chundoo Lall and Pal- 
mer and Co. both basked in the sunshine of the 
British Residency. There was no one but the British 
Resident to restrain them from sacrificing the un- 
happy country. And he did not inquire too nicely 
into the transactions which were enriching the few 
and so cruelly oppressing the many. So it happened 
in time that Palmer and Co. became masters of a 
large portion of the revenues of the State — indeed, 
were in a fair way ere long to sweep the whole into 
their net. 


But a new Resident appeared on the scene — and 
that new Resident was, perhaps, the ablest an d 
honestest man that ever won for himself a coronet, 
without bloodshed and without intrigue. Sir Charles 
Metcalfe went to Hyderabad. The great iniquity 
stared him in the face. The reign of the English 
money-lenders was at an end. Already, the Court of 
Directors had sent instructions to India to close the 
transactions with Palmer and Co., which were en- 
gulfing the resources of the country ; and now Met- 
calfe instituted searching inquiries into all the cir- 
cumstances of the Nizam’s liabilities, and made a 
painful, but most necessary exposure. The result 
was a great expenditure of reputation; and the 
payment, on behalf of the Nizam, by the Bengal 
Government, of upwards of seventy-eight lakhs of 
rupees, in liquidation of the claims of the English 
usurers. Soon after this the House of William 
Palmer and Co. was Bankrupt. 

But Bankruptcy in India means nothing. It is 
often a renewal of strength — a revival of activity. 
“William Palmer and Co.” were soon endeavoring 
to re-establish their influence at Hyderabad; and 
were preferring large claims, principally on the 
score of balance of Interest, against the Chief Mi- 
nister of the unfortunate Nizam. Into the Debtor 
and Creditor account I cannot of course afford to 
enter. But the Court of Directors were thoroughly 
impressed with the conviction that Palmer and Co. 
were not justly entitled to sixpence more than they 
had received, and that any interference on the part 
of the British- Indian Government to obtain pay* 



ment from the Nizam would be entirely unjustified 
by the circumstances of the case, and contrary to 
the faith of treaties. 

The subject attracted a vast deal of attention at 
home. An immense mass of official papers strug- 
gled into type. Pamphlets of all sorts and sizes 
were poured out upon the public. The Court of 
Proprietors woke from their wonted apathy, and a 
debate of six days’ duration was distinguished by 
more eloquence and more excitement than the India 
House had witnessed for years. Everything that 
could be said to justify the proceedings of the House 
of Usury was said — but in vain. The Court of 
Directors were convinced ; the Court of Proprietors 
were convinced; the Public were convinced. An 
irreversible verdict was pronounced. And the most 
charitable were the most eager not to revive so 
painful a discussion. 

And so little was said about it for some time. 
But the members of the Bankrupt House were 
busying themselves in the collection of what they 
called their debts; and again, after a period of 
quiescence, the attention of the Court of Directors 
was called by the local Government to these old 
transactions, and again they were invited to in- 
terfere for the settlement of the long-disputed claims 
upon the Nizam. In 1828, the Court had permitted 
Sir William Bumbold, one of the partners in the 
House, to proceed to India, for the purpose of 
assisting the Trustees of Wm. Palmer and Co. to 
recover sums due to them by individuals, with the 



express stipulation that neither the House, nor any 
member of the House, should “ be suffered to con- 
tinue or renew pecuniary dealings, under any pre- 
tence whatever, with the Nizam’s Government;” 
but the Indian Government had somewhat relaxed 
these restrictions, and contented themselves with 
Sir William Rumbold’s guarantee that he individu- 
ally would not interfere with the affairs of the 
Nizam. Nor this departure from their instructions 
the Court censured the local Government, ob- 
serving that they should thenceforth expect a 
“stricter observance of their former instructions, 
which they saw no reason either to extend or to 
vary.” But the Board of Control had expunged 
these condemnatory paragraphs ; and in remorseless 
red-ink had substituted others, conveying altogether 
a different meaning. The Board, in fact, found a 
justification for what the Court declared unjusti- 
fiable; and instructed the Indian Government to 
inform Sir William ltumbold, that although the 
Court considered “every claim of the House of 
Palmer and Co. on the Nizam’s Government, which 
was in any way sanctioned by the British authori- 
ties, to have been more than satisfied, they no 
longer restrained him from proposing to the Ni- 
zam’s Government, in such manner as he might 
think fit, any legal claims of that House which he 
might conceive to be still unliquidated.” And fur- 
thermore, the Board wrote : “ The Resident will 
intimate to the Nizam’s Government that you (the 
Indian Government) would hear with satisfaction 



that the House had recovered their just claims from 
their private debtors ; and he will advise the Ni- 
zam’s Government to adopt those measures which 
may facilitate to that firm such recovery of their 
just debts, by process of law in the ordinary Courts 
of Justice in the country.”* 

Against such a wholesale alteration of the mean- 
ing of their despatch, the Court of Directors loudly 
remonstrated. They had been made to deviate from 
a course of policy which for some time they had con- 
sistently pursued ; and had been committed to future 
proceedings which they could not conscientiously 
adopt. ‘ ‘ The policy about to be subverted, ’ ’ they wrote 
through their Secretary, “ has been steadily main- 
tained by the Court of Directors throughout a period 
of ten years. It has been sanctioned by four succes- 
sive Boards of Commissioners. It has been publicly 
canvassed by a Court of Proprietors, and approved 
after six days of discussion, which excited more public 
interest than any Indian question has done for many 
years ; and it has been acted upon by four successive 
Governments in India, not in the mere spirit of offi- 
cial obedience, but with active and cordial co-opera- 
tion.” And after pointing out the serious nature of 
the evils likely to result from the adoption of the 
Board’s corrections, the Court expressed their full 
expectation that the Board would revoke the altera- 
tions made in the draft. “ Should the Court be dis- 
appointed in this expectation,” they added, “ they 
will still have performed their duty consistently and 

* July 23, 1830, 


conscientiously, and the responsibility for the results 
will rest undividedly on the Board.” 

The remonstrance was not without effect. The 
despatch, as altered by the Board, was not sent out 
to India. The question, indeed, was shelved for a 
time ; and not until the beginning of 1832 was the 
discussion again revived. Then the Board wrote to 
the Court, intimating that in consequence of intelli- 
gence received from India, relative to the affairs of 
Palmer and Co., it would be advisable that the Court 
should prepare a new Draft in lieu of that to which 
objections had been raised, “ alluding to all the un- 
answered communications of the local Government 
respecting the affairs of Messrs. William Palmer and 
Co.” “ When this is done,” added the India-Board 
Secretary, “ the Board will be prepared to give a de- 
finite opinion upon the whole of the correspondence 
now under consideration.” 

Accordingly, a new despatch was drafted — review- 
ing the past measures of the local Government, and 
offering instructions for their future guidance. That 
Government had endeavored to bring the question 
between the House and the Nizam to an issue, 
through the agency of a Punchayet, or native Court 
of Arbitration. But the effort had failed. There 
had been no satisfactory basis whereon to arrange 
the terms of arbitration ; and no sufficient guarantee 
that the award of the Arbitrators would be rendered 
binding upon the parties to the suit. The Court now 
suggested that these desiderata should be supplied, 
and proceeded to argue upon the abstract merits of 



the case, with a view to its adjustment according to 
the soundest principles of justice. Large sums had 
been claimed on account of accumulations of inte- 
rest, and the Court justly observed that “an in- 
dispensable preliminary to all ulterior proceedings 
would be to consider and determine what principle 
of limitation it would be proper to apply.”* But 
the great objection to this was, that there was any 
allusion to ulterior proceedings at all. It opened 
out the whole case anew when it was desirable to 
close it, and was in effect a retractation of the former 
judgments of the Court. 

The draft was carried through the Court on the 
20th of March, but not without opposition. On the 
22nd, Mr. Itaikes gave in a dissent. On the 28th, 
Mr. Tucker and Colonel Baillie did the same ; and 
on the 4th of April, Mr. Wigram declared his opi- 
nions emphatically against the Court’s resolution. 
Mr. Itaikes pointed out the tendency of the despatch 
to restore the influence of Palmer and Co. at the 
Court of the Nizam, and therefore he protested 
against it. Mr. Wigram denounced it as an at- 
tempt to force British interference unjustly upon a 
native Prince, and stigmatised such interference as 
“ unsound and pernicious in principle, as derogatory 

* The reasonings of the Court on this subject appear to be conclusive as far 
as they go. “ The high interest common under the native Governments is, in 

great part, the consideration for insecurity The principal part of that 

high interest, under such Governments, is in the nature of an insurance upon 
a risk. But if the influence of the British Government is to be employed in 
such a manner as to ensure payment and thereby to take away the risk, it 
will deserve to be considered how much, if anything, of that which may bo 
Regarded as the consideration for risk in the nominal rate of interest, it will 



to the character of the British Government in the 
estimation of the natives of India, as inconsistent 
with the past practice of the Court, and as calcu- 
lated to introduce a most destructive precedent.” 
And Mr. Tucker recorded the following Dissent, in 
which Colonel Baillie concurred : 


“ I am compelled to dissent from the letter to the Govern- 
ment of Bengal on the affairs of Hyderabad, which passed the 
Court on Tuesday last. Not because this letter appears to me 
to be very defective as a composition, nor because it puts forth 
inconclusive arguments upon unsound or questionable pre- 
mises, but because it does not, in my judgment, advance us 
one single step towards the end which the Court have in 

“ The Supreme Government call for more specific instruc- 
tions; and we give them none. They are in a state of per- 
plexity; and we do nothing to put an end to their embarrass- 
ment. The Governor-General, upon his own responsibility, 
and in opposition to the advice of his Council, removes the 
Resident, Mr. Martin; and we say not a word on the subject, 
although this extraordinary exercise of power cannot fail, I 
think, to have a powerful influence on public affairs at Hyder- 

“ The whole tenor of the Court’s despatch would seem to 
contemplate the establishment of some basis , on which an 
equitable adjustment of the claims of W. Palmer and Co. on 
the Newaub Monecr-ool-Moolk and others may be effected; 
and yet I cannot discover that any such basis has been decided 
upon, or that any approach to it has been made. 

“ The Court observe that risk enters as an element into 
interest, and that high interest includes a premium of in- 
surance; but this proposition is qualified by a subsequent 
remark that ex post facto (as it may be termed) security, ob- 
tained by means of the interposition or influence of our Go; 
vernment, must be admitted as a set-off against the original 



risk; apd again, this qualification is considered to be liable to 
modification by reason of the 1 pain and anxiety* which may 
have been endured intermediately between the period when 
the sense of risk commenced, and the period when the sense of 
safety supervened. 

“ These distinctions are, no doubt, highly intellectual and 
refined; but they do not lead to any practical purpose of busi- 
ness. To my simple understanding, the considerations which 
regulate and determine the rates of interest are sufficiently 
plain. They comprehend: 

“ 1st. The productive powers of money at the time and 

“ 2ndly. The relation subsisting between the demand for 
money for political or commercial purposes, and the means of 
supply at the time and place. 

“ 3rdly. The intelligence, skill, and credit of the parties 

“ Lastly. The degree of risk and uncertainty incidental to 
the ultimate recovery of the money lent. 

“ But what shall we gain by subtle disquisitions upon ab- 
stract propositions? Is it useful — is it fit and becoming in a 
Government to pursue a serpentine course of reasoning, whose 
involutions are scarcely traceable by a common mind, when, 
after all, we end just at the point from which we set out? 

“ The questions arising out of the case before us appear to 
me to be simply these : 

“ 1st. Did any fair and legal contract exist between the 
late firm of W. Palmer and Co. and the Newaub Moneer-ool- 
Moolk and others ? 

“ 2nd. Has the contract been violated by either party ? 

u 3rd. Is the British Government called upon to interpose its 
authority, or influence, for the purpose of enforcing the fulfil- 
ment of that contract ? 

“ Now, what are the facts of the case ? Sir Charles Metcalfe 
asserts that six or seven years ago it was acknowledged by the 
parties themselves that the loan to the Newaub Moneer-ool- 
*Moolk had been actually redeemed with more than twelve per 



cent, interest per annum * The Newaub had made over his 
extensive Jagheers to the House — they managed his estates, 
collected his rents, and realised large sums of money. With 
such a security in hand, and with the means of paying them- 
selves more than twelve per cent, interest on their loan, what 
can have been the value and amount of that i pain and 
anxiety ’ for which compensation is to be sought in a high rate 
of interest ? 

“ And upon what grounds can the British Government be 
called upon to interpose its authority or influence for the pur- 
pose of enforcing against a native nobleman of high rank, not 
subject to our Government or laws, a demand for interest ex- 
ceeding twelve per cent, per annum ? 

“ Did we sanction the usurious loans contracted by the late 
Newaub of the Carnatic ? Did we assist his creditors further 
than to guarantee payment of the principal of their just claims 
with a very moderate rate of interest ? 

“ But it may be said that we gave publicity to the opinions 
of three of the greatest lawyers of this country; and that these 
opinions were found afterwards not to be sound law ; or rather, 
that the twelve judges of England, by a bare negative, gave a 
different exposition of the law with relation to the supposed 
limitation of interest on loans made and contracted within the 
territory of a ‘native independent sovereign of India.’ 

“ Admitting, then, what, however, I am not at all disposed 
to admit, that the promulgation of a legal opinion of high 
authority upon a special case, although subsequently impeached 
by the answer of the twelve judges to a general question 
(without, I understand, any argument by Counsel), may have 
had, for a time, a prejudicial effect upon the affairs of W. 
Palmer and Co. ; admitting that the English law opposes no bar 
to the enforcement of a rate of interest, however extortionate 
(say, cent, per cent., instead of twenty-five per cent.), within 
the territory of a ‘ native independent sovereign ,’ and that 
Hyderabad was such a State ; admitting, too, that a debt or 

* I quote from memory, as the papers hud been sent to the Board before I 
had an opportunity to refer to them.— H. St.G. T. 



demand, composed of interest , will carry with it further interest, 
without any limit whatever, in opposition to an opinion which I 
have seen from one of the first Chancery lawyers in this country ; 
admitting, again, that the Mahomedan law, which does not re- 
cognise interest (on w T hat it terms increase or accumulation), 
may be dispensed w r ith or evaded, under usage or otherwise, 
and that interest can be legally enforced against the Newaub 
Moneer-ool-Moolk, himself a Mahomedan; admitting all these 
things, — what have w T e done, either to determine the rate of 
interest which it would be just and proper to allow, or to con- 
stitute the tribunal which shall decide upon the general merits 
of the case — that is, upon the facts connected with the original 
loan or contract — the rate of interest stipulated for — the value 
actually received by the borrower — and the value subsequently 
realised by the lender. 

“We have, it is true, pointed at something like a mean 
between the rate of interest claimed (twenty-five per cent, per 
annum) and the rates of interest which Saoucars (or native 
bankers) are accustomed to charge and allow, in their trans- 
actions with each other; but as the latter is an unknown and a 
varying quantity, I do not perceive how we are to arrive at 
this golden mean; nor is it likely that it would satisfy either 
party, even if it were practicable to arrive at it. In point of 
fact, the native bankers, I have reason to believe, accommodate 
each other at a very low rate of interest. They know each 
other’s situation in general ; and by mutual accommodation, 
they can economise their respective balances; that is, they arc 
enabled severally to retain a much smaller sum than would 
otherwise be necessary to meet unexpected demands. Such 
arrangements are well understood in this country, and not less 
so by the native bankers of India, a most intelligent race of 

“ Placing, as I do, this imaginary mean out of the question, 
the next proposition which the Court’s letter appears to me to 
embrace, is, the resort to arbitration. But who are to be the 
arbitrators ? and who is to enforce their decision ? Has not 
an ineffectual attempt been made already to induce the parties 
to have recourse to arbitration ? I discard the term “ pwn- 



chayet ,” which is a Hindoo institution, for this term is but 
too often used and misapplied. Have not the two parties taken 
opposite grounds with respect to the question of interest ? and 
can any hope be reasonably entertained that they will now 
consent to a basis, or that they will ever appoint arbitrators, 
who may not be their respective tools and representatives? 
And if they should consent to nominate such arbitrators, will 
these tools or representatives ever be brought to agree upon 
the selection of an umpire? In my opinion, they never will; 
and I say further, that no prudent, upright, independent man 
is likely to be found to undertake voluntarily an office, which 
may expose him to the machinations and intrigues of those 
who never will remain quiet under an adverse decision, how- 
ever honest, pure, and unimpeachable that decision may be. 

61 With these difficulties before our eyes, is it fair, is it candid, 
is it just to the creditors of Wm. Palmer and Co., or to the Newaub 
Moneer-ool-Moolk and others, to leave the Supreme Government 
in a state of doubt and perplexity ? Is it not injurious to the 
public service, and to the character of our Government, to go 
on for years , casting this question backwards and forwards be- 
tween England and India, without pronouncing any definite 
judgment, and without conveying any intelligible instructions 
to the Government abroad ? 

“ In my opinion, there are only two courses which we have 
to choose between — either to withdraw from all interference 
whatever, and to allow the trustees of Wm. Palmer and Co. to 
prosecute their claims against Moneer-ool-Moolk and others, 
before such tribunal as the ‘ independent sovereign’ of Hydera- 
bad (and if he be not an 1 independent sovereign’ the answer 
of the twelve judges does not apply) may have provided for 
the administration of public justice within his territories, or 
which his Highness (who is not understood to be a mere 
cypher like his immediate predecessor) may, at our suggestion, 
or by means of the representations of the parties, be induced to 
appoint ; or secondly — To constitute and appoint a Special 
Commission, under the authority of the British Government, to 
be composed (say, for instance) of a member of the Court of 
S udder Dewanny Adawlut, with the Ckzi ool Cozaat and a 

2 D 



Mufti of that Court, as assessors, with full powers to examine 
into the whole case, including the original contract and claim 
of debt, with all subsequent proceedings connected with its 
liquidation; and to adjudicate finally on every point of dispute 
between the parties, upon such grounds as law, usage, and the 
general principles of justice may furnish for an equitable ad- 

“ I have abstained as much as possible from any allusion to 
the nature and character of the transactions of W. Palmer and 
Co. at Hyderabad; as it is, I think, for the honor of the British 
name in India, that as little should be said on the subject as 
possible. These transactions cannot be consigned to oblivion, 
because the writings of Sir Charles Metcalfe, an officer alike 
distinguished for great talents, high honor, great zeal, and 
above all, for that moral courage which gives the seal and im- 
press to the other virtues of a public man — his writings, I re- 
peat, and the able speech delivered in this house by the late 
Mr. Impey (one of the most convincing arguments which I 
ever heard in any public assembly), have cast a broad light 
over those transactions, which nothing but time can ever ex- 
tinguish. What I wish is, that this subject should not be kept 
alive by our indecision. Every consideration of justice and 
policy should impel us to bring the questions at issue to an 
early and final settlement — regard for the situation of the 
Newaub Moneer-ool-Moolk — consideration for the creditors of 
W. Palmer and Co. — and respect for the reputation of our own 
Government, all alike demand from us a prompt, clear, and 
unequivocal expression of our sentiments. It is because the 
letter of the Court appears to me to be deficient in all these 
particulars, that I record the present dissent, considering, as I 
do, that letter to be altogether unsuitable to the occasion, and 
not at all becoming that high authority frpm which it pro- 
ceeds ; and which (whatever may be the term of its exist- 
ence) I am anxious to see maintain always a high and undis- 
puted place in public estimation.* 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ 24th March, 1832.” 

* This admirable dissent was published among the Proceedings connected 
with the Writ of Mandamus published in 1833. 



The draft despatch so assailed at the outset was 
sent in for the approval of the Board. The Board 
absolutely annihilated it with their exterminating 
Bed Ink. It had originally consisted of thirty-seven 
paragraphs. Of these the Board scored out all but 
four, three of which contained only a preliminary 
recital of facts, and the fourth a mere general pro- 
position. For the paragraphs so expunged the 
Board substituted ten of their own. In this 
amended despatch the Court were made to declare 
their conviction that “ the joint interposition of our 
Government and that of the Nizam will be requisite 
to bring the matter in dispute to a final settle- 
ment.” The nature of the proposed interposition 
was then declared. The Nizam was to be suffered 
to take his choice between an ordinary plan of arbi- 
tration (the umpire to be nominated by the Go- 
vernor-General) and the appointment of a Com- 
mission to be appointed by the Supreme Govern- 
ment ; he was to be recommended by the Besident 
at Hyderabad to consent to one of these plans, and 
to make the decision final, whatever it might be. 
And the despatch concluded with an admission that 
the Court had unintentionally done an injustice to 
Palmer and Co. by not urging an earlier settlement 
of their claims. 

This was too much for the Court. They could 
not bring themselves to sanction such an authorita- 
tive interference ; and the admission at the close of 
the letter Avas intolerable to them. So they nega- 
tived the resolution for the adoption of the altered 



despatch, and wrote a letter of remonstrance to the 

The Board consented to some slight alterations in 
the body of the draft, and expunged the obnoxious 
admission in the tail of it. But still the Court were 
not satisfied. Mr. Grant,* who then presided at the 
Board, had declared that it was far from his inten- 
tion that there should be any authoritative inter- 
ference on the part of the British Government. 
But, look at it as they might, the Court could not 
see in the despatch anything short of the recom- 
mendation of such authoritative interference. So 
they still declined to forward the despatch. Court- 
day after Court-day arrived ; meeting after meeting 
was held. The whole question was discussed and 
re-discussed again, but still they could not overcome 
their reluctance to sign the obnoxious despatch. At 
length they came to a determination which does not 
appear to me to be distinguished by their wonted 
sagacity. They rescinded the Resolution of the 30 th 
of March, and virtually cancelled both the Draft 
and its Amendments, declaring that they had no 
authority to meddle with the case at all. Now they 
were competent to rescind their own Resolutions, 
but not to cancel a despatch after it had been altered 
by the Board of Control. + And to declare their 
want of authority to meddle with a case with which 
they had been meddling for many years was simply 
to stultify themselves. 

* The present Lord Glenelg. 

f This, at least, is my own impression, strengthened by the decision of the 
Court of King’s Bench — but the contrary was very ingeniously contended by 
Serjeant Spankie. 



To this Resolution the Board of course demurred ; 
and again there were new discussions in the Court. 
The difficulty seemed to thicken. There was no 
hope of a reconciliation. So at last the Court, after 
a controversy of eight months’ duration, told the 
Board that they had nothing to do hut to leave the 
Law to take its course. And accordingly, on the 
24th of November, in the Court of King’s Bench, 
the Attorney-General made a motion to call upon 
the East India Company to show cause why a writ 
of Mandamus should not be issued to compel them 
to transmit to India a certain despatch, finally 
amended and approved, by the Board of Commis- 
sioners for the Affairs of India, according to the pro- 
visions of the Act of Parliament 33rd George III. 

The 21st of J anuary — the first day of term — was 
fixed for the hearing of the case. It was argued at 
great length by Mr. Serjeant Spankie, Sir James Scar- 
lett, and Mr. Wigram, on the side of the Company ; 
by the Attorney and Solicitor-General and Mr. Amos 
on the side of the Crown. There was a vast display 
of legal ingenuity. The clauses of the Charter- Act, 
bearing upon the question at issue, were anatomised 
with an amount of skill that must have astonished 
the framers of it, whilst it perfectly bewildered the 
judges on the Bench. Eight days afterwards Mr. 
Justice Littledale delivered the judgment of the 
Court. The rule for the Mandamus was made abso- 

On the 13th of Eebruary the Mandamus was 
served on the members of the Court then present at 



the India House. The opinion of Counsel was then 
sought by the Company as to whether an appeal to 
the King in Council would he attended with any 
advantageous results. The opinion recorded was 
that it would not. So on the 13th of March — a 
year wanting only a week from the date of the ori- 
ginal draft — the Court met pursuant to notice given 
by the Chairman, to consider the expediency of 
signing the despatch as altered by the Board. The 
Court were divided on the question. There were 
men prepared to face the Mandamus and to abide 
the result, in defence of the Bight. "When, there- 
fore, the resolution for the signing of the despatch 
was moved, the previous question was put, and the 
votes were found to be equal. According to the 
provisions of the Charter- Act it was, therefore, lost ; 
and the original resolution was carried. That reso- 
lution ended with the words : “ The Court feel that 
they have no alternative but to sign the despatch ; 
but in doing so ministerially and by compulsion, 
they desire to record their most solemn protest 
against the orders which they are required to de- 

On the next Court-day, a Protest signed by Messrs. 
Bavenshaw, Maijoribanks, Smith, Astell, Wigram, 
Baillie, Tucker, Masterman, Stuart, and Ellice, was 
delivered in and read to the Court. It was an able 
and a dignified remonstrance — closely argued, clearly 
written— carrying conviction with it at every stage. 
It set forth and it proved that the interference 
ordered by the Board of Control was — 



Contrary to the faith of treaties. 

Contrary to the policy of the East India Com- 

Contrary to the established practice of the Court 
of Directors. 

Contrary to the general practice of the former 
Governments of Bengal. 

Contrary to the substantial justice of the case. 

Contrary to the right use which should be made 
of the experience derived from the past transac- 
tions of the House. 

All these points were conclusively established in' 
the Protest ; the nature of the transactions between 
Palmer and Co. and the Nizam’s officers was exa- 
mined ; the accounts between them were analysed ; 
the real character of the claim was exposed; and 
then the remonstrance thus concluded : “To put a 
stop at once and for ever to that real or supposed 
influence, so assumed and so abused by Messrs. 
"William Palmer and Co., was once the object aimed 
at, not only by the Court of Directors and the 
Bengal Government, but also by the Board of Com- 
missioners. To restore that influence to all its per- 
nicious efficiency must be the result of the inter- 
ference which the present Board of Commissioners 
would compel the Court to enjoin, and against 
which we hereby most earnestly protest. And we 
cannot too strongly deprecate, not only the use 
which the Board have made of their power on this 
occasion, but the possession by a Minister or Go- 
vernment Board (without appeal to another tribunal 



on the merits of the case) of such power — a power 
to transfer money, to any extent, and on any pre- 
tence, from the possession of our allies or of their 
subjects, to that of ourselves, or of the subjects of 
the British Government.” 

This able and vigorous protest was subscribed by 
Mr. Tucker ; but it did not contain all that he de- 
sired to express. He had recorded a Dissent from 
the original draft prepared by the Court, and now 
he desired to declare his conviction that the one was 
no better than the other, inasmuch as that neither 
'tended to that peremptory closing of the whole ques- 
tion which he conceived to be demanded by all the 
past circumstances of the case. He, therefore, in 
conjunction with Colonel Baillie, who had signed his 
original dissent, placed upon record the following 
Addendum to the great Protest : 


“ 1. We have subscribed the foregoing protest, believing it 
to be substantially correct, and feeling it to be highly essential 
that those members of the Court who have taken so decided a 
part in resisting an arbitrary proceeding of the Board of Com- 
missioners for the Aflairs of India should place on record a state- 
ment of those facts, and a review of those considerations, which 
influenced them in opposing the orders of the Board. 

“ 2. But we wish, at the same time, to explain, that we by 
no means consider the letter substituted by the Board for the 
Political Despatch, No. 167, which passed the Court on the 
20th March, to be of a more objectionable character than the 
original Draft. On the contrary, the Board’s letter is much 
more intelligible, and of a more straightforward character, and 
it avoids that circuitous course of reasoning which, in our 
opinion, could lead to no useful result. Were we called upon 



to decide between the two, we should sign the Board's letter in 
preference. We protested, however, against the Court's letter 
of the 20th of March, and we have felt it to be our duty also to 
oppose]the Board’s despatch, upon considerations varying some- 
what in degree and in their general import, but sufficiently 
strong to make it impossible for us to adopt the Board’s views. 

“3. We cannot think it right to direct the Resident at 
Hyderabad 4 to endeavor, by personal representations, to engage 
his Highness the Nizam, on the strong grounds of justice, to 
use his influence with Moneer-ool-Moolk, in order to induce 
him to concur in the proposed reference.’ 

44 4. We cannot think it right to direct the Resident 4 to urge 
on his Highness, in terms of strong recommendation, the justice 
of his resolving to enforce the final award.’ 

44 5. Nor can we determine to express our conviction, when we 
have no such conviction, 4 of our having been the instruments, 
however unintentionally, of arresting, by the promulgation of 
an erroneous opinion, the earlier liquidation of the debt.’ 

“ 6, We cannot concur in these things; for after reviewing 
the correspondence and minutes of Sir Charles Metcalfe, the 
representations of the late Resident, Mr. Martin, the acknow- 
ledgment of the parties themselves , and the figured statements 
which have been prepared in this House, we cannot satisfy our- 
selves that the House of William Palmer and Co. have any just 
claim of debt on the Newaub Moneer-ool-Moolk, or that there 
are any grounds whatever for exerting the authority and in- 
fluence of our Government to enable that firm to enforce any 
such claims. 

44 7. On the contrary, we are deeply impressed with the con- 
viction, that such an exertion of authority on our part would 
be an act of gross injustice, tending to violate our engagements 
with a Native Power, to produce a most improper interference 
in its domestic administration, to expose the rights and property 
of its subjects to be dealt with in the most arbitrary manner, 
and finally to lower the character of the British Government, 
and to render our very name odious in the estimation of the 
people of India. 

(Signed) 4 { H. St.G. Tucker. 

44 J. Baillie.” 



The altered despatch was sent to India. The 
disputed claims were referred to arbitration. Mr. 
J. M. Macleod was appointed by the Governor-Ge- 
neral to the office of Umpire ; and it was decided 
that the heirs of the Minister Moneer-ool-Moolk 
should pay a further sum of ten lakhs of rupees to 
the estate of Palmer and Co., bearing interest at nine 
per cent. When this result was communicated to 
the Court of Directors, it was received without re- 
mark. But Mr. Tucker, with the practised eye of 
an Accountant, saw that there was injustice in the 
award, and he thus, on the 4th of May, 1836, recorded 
his dissent : 

“ I feel it to be my duty to record my dissent from the resolu- 
tion of the Court to sign the following brief, and to me inexpli- 
cable paragraph, in the political despatch to India, No. 65, 
bearing date the 26th ultimo — viz. : 

“‘Paras. 1 to 1G, reporting proceedings by which it 
appears that Mr. J. M. Macleod, the umpire selected by 
the Governor -General, has decided that the heirs of 
Moneer-ool-Moolk shall pay to Messrs. W. P. and Co. a 
further sum of ten lakhs of rupees, with interest at 9 per 
cent., until the same shall be discharged.’ 

tc First. 1 dissent on the following grounds : — Because, with- 
out reference to the merits of the case, it appears to me un- 
becoming in this Court to pass over a question of great interest 
and importance in a way which must leave the Government 
abroad in doubt with respect to our real sentiments. Such a 
proceeding cannot fail, I think, to produce very unfavorable 
effects in India; and whether it be surmised that we are afraid 
to pronounce a judgment upon a delicate and difficult question, 
or that a want of union among us has led to a compromise, or 
that differences with the Board have rendered it impossible for 
the two authorities to concur in any one course of proceeding, 
the impression upon the public mind in India must be such as 

4 No remark.’ 



I would most earnestly deprecate. The Government which 
dreads and avoids responsibility cannot command respect ; and 
although cases of collision between the two authorities will 
sometimes occur, constituted as those authorities are at present, 
it is far better that our differences should be fairly and honestly 
maintained, than that we should be suspected of compromising 
a public principle in order to preserve an appearance of concord 
and good understanding. On the present occasion we are called 
upon to answer a despatch involving important questions. We 
have pronounced no opinion whatever — we have disposed of a 
subject which has engaged, and deeply engaged the attention 
of this Court for years past, by the simple words * No remark / 
and I can scarcely picture to myself the astonishment of those 
who are now waiting to hear tho final judgment of this high 
tribunal, when these words, ‘ No remark ,’ proclaim our determi- 
nation to let that which has been done pass without notice, 
whether it has been well done or otherwise. 

“ Secondly. I must contend that the award of the umpire 
exhibits upon the very face of it a palpable error ; and although 
the members of this Court are not expected generally to be 
professional accountants, I will venture to say that there is no 
practical accountant who would not detect the error at the 
slightest glance. 

“ The following is the award in substance : 

“ 6 After mature deliberation, it appears to me that the best 
mode of determining the amount of the debt at the present 
time, is — first, to fix its amount at the time of the failure of the 
House, then to double the same, to deduct, without interest , the 
principal monies of payment since made on account of the debt, 
and to take the remainder to be the debt at this day.’ 

“ Now, it is quite evident that the great principle on which 
accounts are framed is here lost sight of. To double the prin- 
cipal of the demand is to allow interest, and to allow it, indeed, 
to the utmost extent to which, by usage, it is claimable ;* but 
‘ to deduct, without interest , the principal monies of payment 

* Without reference to Hindoo law, or our own regulations (Mahomedan 
law condemns usury or compensation for the use of money), I may observe, 
that the penalty inserted in a bond is double the amount of principal, so that 
the sum recoverable upon it for the interest is virtually limited. — H. St.G. T. 



since made on account of the debt/ is to determine that one 
side of an account shall not bear interest , while it is fully 
allowed on the other. By this decision, the heir of the late 
Newaub Moneer-ool-Moolk is placed in the same situation as if 
he had only paid in the year 1835 monies which were actually 
paid in 1823-24. To show to what an erroneous result the 
process adopted by the umpire has led, it is only necessary to 
quote, his own words, from paragraph 21 of his letter of the 
10th March, 1835, containing the award : 

“ * On the other hand, were the account to be brought down 
to the month of August, 1829 (or to Mokurrum 1244 Hegry), 
the balance against him (the Newaub) would be reduced to 
about four lakhs; and were the account to be brought down 
to the present day, it would exhibit a balance of upwards of a 
lakh of rupees against the representatives of the House.’ 

“ This is a simple and, I believe, a correct exposition of the 
case. As far as a judgment can be formed from very perplexed 
accounts, I am led to infer that the principal of the debt had 
been fully liquidated, and that the balance, if any, due by the 
Newaub could only have resulted from a difference of interest, 
to be determined in the usual manner by a regular interest 

u Other questions present themselves in a review of the 
award and of the correspondence connected with it; but I have 
not the slightest wish to go beyond the plain duty of pointing 
out an obvious error, which, I am *satisfied, was quite unin- 
tentional, but which, deeply affecting, as it must do, the interests 
of one of the parties, ought not to be passed over in silence. 

“ Nor have I the slightest desire to enter upon the original 
merits of a case which has been so often before the Court, and 
on which I have had occasion so often to deliver my sentiments. 
The facts connected with it have been so fully and so clearly 
exposed in the protest which was recorded by ten members of 
the Court on the 15th March, 1833, that anything which 
I could urge on the present occasion would probably only 
weaken the impression which that able document was cal- 
culated to produce. 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ 4th May, 1836” 



I hare anticipated the sequence of time in the 
record of this Dissent ; hut I should feel more satis- 
faction in disrhissing the case altogether, if I had 
not now to speak of another of kindred origin and 
character. The years 1832-33-34 were, for the 
Court of Directors, years of unusual excitement and 
activity. Apart from the disturbance of their tran- 
quillity necessarily engendered by the unwelcome 
innovations of the new Charter- Act, they were years 
rendered memorable by the repeated collisions into 
which they were forced with the Board of Control. 

I do not know how it happened, that during the 
Presidentship of a man so high-minded, so just, and 
so averse from strife, as Mr. Charles Grant, the 
Court should have been so often compelled to resist 
the efforts made by the Board to force them into acts 
of injustice. Perhaps it was that a sort of fatal good- 
nature — a disinclination to sift the claims of hungry 
applicants, and to disbelieve the specious repre- 
sentations which were made to him, induced him to 
side with claimants who had no title to his support ; 
and that in his eagerness to be more than just to 
one party, he was sometimes less than just to 
another. But, whatever may have been the cause, 
during these years the Company were disturbed 
by being called upon in no less than four dif- 
ferent cases to interfere for the settlement of 
claims advanced against certain native prinoes and 

Of the claims upon the Zemindar of Noozeed and 
the Rajah of Travancore I need not here make espe- 



cial mention. I pass on to the more notorious case 
known as that of the “Lucknow Bankers.” It 
bears a generic resemblance to the Hyderabad, case ; 
but its details are not quite so complicated. It was 
a case of a spendthrift monarch on one side, and a 
gang of hungry usurers on the other. Porty years 
before, some native bankers, named Mooneer Doss 
and Seetul Baboo, following the example of other 
money-lenders, European and native, fell upon the 
track of the profligate Nabob of Oude and lent him 
some money, upon bonds, at a rate of interest which 
implied either their belief in the badness of the 
security, or their resolution to defraud the borrower. 
It was the old story over again — a native prince 
wallowing in the deepest slough of sensual indul- 
gence — spending on dancing-girls and buffoons — on 
wild-beast fights and pageants — all the treasure that 
he could extort from the people; then borrowing 
more from the usurers, who were ready with their 
money-bags to administer, for a consideration of 
thirty per cent., to the necessities of his unscrupulous 
lust. The borrower was reckless about the interest, 
for he knew that, if it were paid at all, it would be 
wrested from his unhappy people ; and the lender, 
careless of the blood and tears which were to flow 
from the extortion, believed that as long as the 
country could yield a revenue, they who supplied 
the necessities of the prince would be sure to enrich 
themselves by the connexion. So these “ Dosses” — as 
they were subsequently known in Parliamentary 
History — lent money at the close of the last con- 


tury to the Nabob-Vizier — Asoph-ood-dowlah — and 
thus a new contribution was made to the sufferings 
of the people. 

But borrowing must have some limits, and even 
the possessors of rich Indian principalities must 
come to a stand at last ; so the Nabob, being at 
length awakened to a real sense of his position by 
the British Resident, determined to compound with 
his creditors — that is, to pay them all something less 
than their exorbitant claims, which consisted for the 
most part of small advances, swollen into prodigious 
sums by a process of tumefaction well known to 
Oriental usurers. The composition, however, that 
was offered was not of an uniform character. It 
was determined that the European creditors should 
be repaid at one rate, the native creditors at another. 
It need not be said that the former was the higher. 
The arrangement took place. The creditors, for the 
most part, prudently took what they could get, 
which was, in most cases, more than they deserved. 
But the “ Dosses,” claiming to be British subjects, 
stickled for the European rate of composition, and 
were rewarded for their ambition by getting nothing 
at all. 

Soon after the completion of this transaction, 
Asoph-ood-dowlah died. In his place, the English 
Government set up one Saadut Ali, who was not of 
a temper to part with sixpence, when he was not 
actually compelled. So the “Dosses” went on from 
year’s end to year’s end, clamoring for their money 
and not obtaining it — and employing the services of 



an European Agent, who was as persevering in his 
pursuit of “ Justice” as though he had been one of 
the principals. There was nothing which he did 
not try, from a bill in equity to a humble petition, 
to induce the East India Company to further his 
suit. But all his efforts were vain. The Court of 
Directors were resolute not to interfere. An appeal 
was made to Parliament ; and Parliament got rid of 
the nuisance by appointing a Select Committee, 
which never reported on the case. This was in 
1822. Ten years afterwards, the energy of the 
European Agent was as sleepless as ever ; and he 
saw before him at last something like a prospect of 
obtaining the reward of his toil. The President of 
the Board of Control was inclining a favorable ear 
to the claims of Mr. Prendergast’s friends. 

In consequence of the representation of this inde- 
fatigable gentleman, Mr. Grant had undertaken to 
review all the circumstances of the case ; and the re- 
sult of the inquiry thus instituted was a conviction in 
his mind, that however sound the principle of non- 
interference in such cases might be, “ the circum- 
stances connected with the transactions on which 
their (the Bankers’) claim is founded, give it so 
peculiar a character, that the Court and the Board 
would have been warranted in adopting a different 
course.” This conviction he communicated to the 
Court, in a letter to the Chairman and Deputy- 
Chairman, dated April 12, 1832 ; and, as the result 
of it, declared his intention of making our interpo- 
sition with the King of Oude “ direct and formal” 


— adding, “ I propose, accordingly, that the Go- 
vernor-General in Council should be directed to lose 
no time in addressing to the King of Oude a letter 
to that purport, and that his Lordship should be 
desired to instruct the Resident to take an early 
opportunity of delivering that letter to the King, 
and of verbally explaining to his Majesty the 
grounds on which the British Government have 
felt themselves constrained to press upon his serious 
attention a claim which ought to have been dis- 
charged thirty years ago, and which the Agents of 
the parties have not ceased to prosecute to the 
utmost extent of their power, both in India and in 
this country. The rate and amount of interest 
should, of course, be settled according to the law 
and usages of the country in which the debt was 
contracted. The mode and details of payment must 
be matters of negotiation between the King of Oude 
and the Supreme Government.” And the memo- 
rable letter thus concluded: “Having thus ex- 
plained briefly, because the merits of the case are 
well known to you and to the Court of Directors, 
the result of my investigation into the claim of the 
Calcutta Bankers, I have to request that you will 
be pleased to bring the matter under the considera- 
tion of the Court, and that you will move them to 
prepare the draft of a despatch to the Governor- 
General in Council, con taining instructions of the 
tenor above stated. The despatch will, of course, 
require the sanction of the Commissioners for the 
Affairs of India.” 

2 E 



This, as I have said, was dated the 12th of April, 
1832. Only the day before, the Court had voted 
against the adoption of the obnoxious alterations in 
their despatch relative to the claims of Palmer and 
Co. ; and now they were called upon to authorise an 
act of interference which they conceived to be still 
more impolitic and unjust. There seemed to be a 
run upon their patience and forbearance ; and they 
were well disposed to declare themselves Insolvent. 
Where, indeed, was all this to end? There were 
other claimants on the King of Oude — other claim- 
ants upon other Native Princes; and if the claims 
of the Dosses were conceded, and measures taken to 
enforce their settlement, why should not the heirs 
and representatives of other claimants — English, 
Indian, and those who were neither English nor 
Indian, or both — be satisfied too, by an equally au- 
thoritative interposition in their behalf ? The Board 
of Control was in a fair way, indeed, going on at 
this rate, to beggar half the Princes of India. Every 
claimant thought his own an exceptional case, and 
the Board seemed to be adopting wholesale the 
opinions of the claimants themselves. In sooth it 
was time to stop. 

So the Court of Directors drew up a general re- 
monstrance against these acts of interference. It 
was dated the 9th of May, 1832, and is a remark- 
ably able State paper — luminous, forcible, and con- 
vincing. But it did not convince the Board of 
Control. It pointed out all the evils of interference 
— the impolicy, the injustice; the manifest incon- 


sistency of such a course of procedure ; the loss of 
character to Government; the inconvenience, the 
danger of opening the door to a rush of hungry 
claimants ; the certainty either of being hurried into 
more concessions, or of raising louder clamors and 
stimulating greater discontent — but it was all ar- 
gued in vain. The President of the Board of Con- 
trol was not to be convinced. He had made up his 
mind that the Bankers who had waited for years 
for the spoil, should be now let in to gorge them- 
selves to the full. 

But as argument was of no avail — as the question 
could not be settled by an appeal to principles of 
reason and justice, the Court took the next best 
course. They did nothing. They were silent. They 
did not prepare the despatch. Seven months passed 
in silence. The Court had been ordered on the 14th 
of May to prepare the despatch. On the 15th of 
December it was not written ; and they had given 
no sign of an intention to write it. So, on that day 
the Board forwarded to the India House a draft 
despatch of the President’s own framing, with in- 
structions to the Court to prepare one of like ten- 
dency, and transmit it to India. The Court did not 
obey the injunction. They resolved once more to 
try the effect of an appeal to reason ; and after re- 
newed consideration of the whole question, they 
wrote a long letter to the Board, which was signed 
on the 1st of March, 1833, setting forth, in detail, 
the causes of their unwillingness to obey the in- 
structions of the controlling authority. This was 

2 E 2 



afterwards pronounced by Mr. Herries, in the House 
of Commons, to be the very ablest public document 
which had come under his observation for years. 

Still the President of the India Board was not to 
be convinced. And still the Court of Directors 
were not to be driven into a course of conduct 
against which reason and conscience revolted. So 
there was again active strife between the two autho- 
rities — an irreconcileable difference which it seemed 
that nothing but an appeal to the law could finally 
adjust. But the Hyderabad battle had not yet been 
fought out; so the Oude contest but slowly pro- 
ceeded to an issue. On the 29th of January the rule 
for a Mandamus was made absolute in the case of 
Palmer and Co. ; on the 31st of that month the 
Attorney-General made a motion in the Court of 
King’s Bench to call upon the Company to show 
cause why a Mandamus should not be issued, to 
compel them to sign a certain despatch relating to 
the creditors of the King of Oude. 

Mr. Tucker was at this time Deputy-Chairman of 
the East India Company. He had felt strongly, 
and he had written strongly, regarding the impolicy 
and injustice of interposing authoritatively for the 
adjustment of the Hyderabad claims. And now, 
here, if possible, was a worse case — worse, inas- 
much as the claim was one of much longer standing 
— a veteran, indeed, of some forty years. If there 
was one subject in connexion with the circumstances 
of our position in India on which Mr. Tucker felt 


more strongly than on another, it was that of the 
treatment of the Native Princes and Chiefs of India 
by the British Government, as the paramount and 
controlling power, He was always thinking that 
it was “ excellent to have a giant’s strength,” but 
“ tyrannous to use it like a giant and he could 
not by any means see that these Native Princes were 
left upon the face of the earth only to be pillaged 
and plundered, to be trampled on and oppressed, 
according to the will of the English conqueror. He 
respected their fallen state, though he took account 
of their vices ; and he could not by any means see 
how those vices were to be eradicated by s inkin g 
them into deeper degradation, and making their per- 
plexities thicken around them. In the present case, 
he saw clearly both the injustice and the danger of 
the course which the Board had ordained. How, 
he asked, was such a payment to be enforced by 
anything short of physical coercion ? Was the 
money to be extorted at the point of the bayonet ? 
It was impossible to conceive a measure so laden 
with unrighteousness, and so pregnant with danger, 
as that which the Court of Directors were now im- 
peratively called upon to adopt. 

Mr. Tucker had made up his mind on the subject, 
and nothing, now, could shake his resolution. He 
was as inflexible as adamant in defence of the right. 
The law had no terrors for him. The Court of King’s 
Bench might rule what it pleased ; he was not to be 
driven from his allegiance. He could go to prison ; 



but he could not violate the principles which he had 
made the rule of his life ; he could not be untrue to 

On the 5th of February, 1834, five days after 
the Mandamus had been moved for, Mr. Tucker ad- 
dressed his colleagues in the following words. The 
trumpet gave no “ uncertain sound.” It was in- 
tended to “ arm them for the battle 


“ Honorable Sirs, — A writ of Mandamus having been 
moved for in the King’s Bench, to compel this Court to sign 
and forward to India the despatch which was sent to us for 
signature on the 15th December, 1832, relating to the claim 
of the Lucknow Bankers on the Government of Oude, I feel it 
to be my duty to declare that it is impossible for me to comply 
with the requisition of the Board of Commissioners for the 
Affairs of India on this particular occasion. 

“ I am quite aware that I am called upon to act ministerially 
only, in signing the despatch of the Board; but there are cases 
where I cannot act even ministerially — there are obligations 
superior to that of yielding obedience to a Mandamus — and 
there are acts which the law itself cannot command — acts which 
cannot be performed without a violation of those principles on 
which all law is founded. The Legislature can, no doubt, 
invest a public functionary with large discretional powers; byt 
these powers can never extend so far as to give a legal sanction 
to an act in itself illegal and criminal. 

“ The order which we are required to issue has for its object 
to enforce payment of a claim which has never been admitted 
or substantiated — which takes its origin some forty years ago — 
and which is understood to amount, with interest, to more 
than a million sterling. The claim must be enforced against 
one whom we recognise in the character of a sovereign prince, 
and whom we must lay prostrate and involve in ruin, if, dis- 



regarding his remonstrances, we persist in compelling payment 
of this demand without a regular adjudication; since it is well 
known that it will he followed by other demands of the same 
kind to an enormous amount. Let it be remembered always 
that this is only one of many claims on the State of Oude, 
which we may be called upon, and which we have been called 
upon, to enforce; and I can perceive no ground whatever for 
separating it from the rest, or for exerting in favor of the 
claimants an authority, or influence, which we will not exert in 
any other case. 

“ If it be not intended to use force in the execution of the 
orders of the Board, they will remain inoperative* — they will 
effect nothing; and they will be, indeed, worse than useless; 
for every means short of force were resorted to in 1816 for the 
purpose of inducing the Newaub to satisfy this particular 
claim. The next step must then be a resort to military exe- 
cution, or the threat of military execution ; and who is pre- 
pared to say what consequences may result from such a pro- 
ceeding ? One effect must certainly be produced — we must 
sink in the estimation of our allies and native subjects; for the 
act will be stamped in their minds with the character of in- 
justice and oppression; and who is so ignorant as not to perceive 
that the loss of reputation must, in our peculiar situation in 
India, endanger the stability of our power ? 

“Far from wishing to carry on a hostile contest with, the 
Board, my study has been, in the station which I have the 
honor to hold, to promote a good understanding between the 
two authorities — to conciliate confidence — and to smooth away 
difficulties, as far as this could be done without compromising 
the independence of the Court, or the interests of the public 
sendee. I have followed this course, both from inclination, 
and upon principle; for even when the two authorities concur 
and cordially co-operate, the work to be performed is of such 
magnitude as to be almost beyond our power of execution,; 
while it is quite apparent that, if collision take place, if discord 
prevail, and habitual opposition be offered on either side, the 
machine of Government must absolutely stand still. 

“ But here let me render an act of simple justice. During 



the brief period in which I have had the honor of assisting at 
personal conferences with the President of the Board, I have 
found that Minister as anxious as the Chairman and myself to 
promote harmony and to consult the interests of the service. 
Every question has been debated with fairness and candor, and 
the greatest solicitude has been shown to remove every cause 
of difference, and to allow the utmost weight and consideration 
to every proposition which our duty has led us to bring forward 
on the part of the Court. 

“ On this one point the difference has been extreme and irrc- 
concileable, involving a principle which it was impossible for us 
to concede. We could not consent to be parties in overturning 
the deliberate decision of successive Courts and successive 
Boards. If the judgment of our predecessors is to be set aside 
after the lapse of a long period of years, without new facts 
being adduced, without the case assuming any new feature, 
what would be stable in our proceedings ? what resolution 
would be permanent ? what act would be final ? During the 
long administration of Marquis Wellesley, when the case was 
more recent, and the facts more susceptible of proof*, no step 
was taken by the Supreme Government to obtain an adjudi- 
cation of the claim : his Lordship’s subsequent advocacy of it 
was at a time when he had no official responsibility, and when 
he was not in a situation to pronounce a judgment. Lord 
Hastings, although evidently disposed to favor the claimants, 
limited his interference to importunate recommendations to the 
Newaub through the Resident at Lucknow, and admitted that 
the case was not one which ‘ the British Government was 
warranted in formally supporting.’ But the whole question 
has been so fully canvassed in the Court’s letter of the 1st 
March last, that it is quite unnecessary for me to enter upon 
any further examination of its merits. 

“I am called upon, then, to make a decided stand; and I 
feel that it ought to be made at all hazards. Adjusted as are 
the powers between the two departments, what gives, or can 
give, weight and influence to the Court ? The knowledge, 
experience, and political integrity of its members. Take away 



these, and the Board becomes supreme. The Court, by mani- 
festing, on great occasions, firm resolution and a high spirit of 
independence, will raise its own character, and inspire confi- 
dence and respect. Our servants, who have not always shown 
a becoming deference to our authority and station, will learn to 
obey a power which is prepared calmly to resist that which it 
believes to be wrong, and steadily to enforce that which it feels 
to be right; and acting thus, our constituents, and the British 
public, and the people of India, will be satisfied that the Court 
of Directors is, what it ought to be, an efficient organ of admi- 
nistration, to whom the interests of a great empire may safely 
be confided. 

“ I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, 

u Your very obedient, faithful servant, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

‘■5th February, 1834.” 

It was not without pain that he wrote this nohle 
remonstrance. There were many fine qualities in 
Charles Grant which no man better appreciated than 
Henry St.George Tucker. There were some points 
upon which they differed; hut there were many 
more on which their opinions were identical, and an 
abstract love of justice was paramount in the cha- 
racters of both men. I believe that both as Indian 
and Colonial Minister the conduct of Charles Grant 
was regulated by the highest principles of justice ; 
hut that he sometimes missed the right application 
of these principles, and in the plenitude of his kind- 
ness did the unkindest things. In the great contest 
of which I am now writing, it is my conviction that 
Mr. Grant and Mr. Tucker each believed that justice 
was upon his side. But Mr. Tucker had knowledge 
as well as faith. He — and not only he, but many of 



his colleagues — brought to the investigation of this 
question much local knowledge and experience — a 
deep insight into native character in general, and 
an intimate acquaintance, in particular, with the 
profligate helplessness of Oriental princes, and. the 
almost fathomless cunning of Oriental usurers. Mr. 
Grant, on the other hand, did not, perhaps, reflect 
that what was justice in the West might not be jus- 
tice in the East ; and that the arbitrement suited 
to one country might be lamentably unsuited to 
another. Had his father then been at his elbow he 
would have followed a different course. 

All this was manifest to Mr. Tucker. He greatly 
esteemed the virtues of the man; and, therefore, 
the more bitterly deplored the errors of the minister. 
He often, indeed, at this time, expressed his regret 
that the contest of public principle was with a man 
whom personally he so much respected ; and in one 
of his speeches at the India House, quoted with ad- 
mirable felicity, and with deep feeling, the touching 
words of the poet : 

“Je t'aimais inconstant — qu’aitrais-je fait fidcle f* 

In his resistance to the arbitrary measures of the 
Board, Mr. Tucker did not stand alone. On the 
15th of January a resolution had passed the Court, 
without a dissentient voice, declaring that as the 
proposed interference with the King of Oude was 
unjust, inconsistent, and mischievous, the Court 
could “ not consent, even ministerially, to act upon 
the orders of the Board until compelled by Law to 


do so.” It was in consequence of this resolution 
that the Mandamus had been moved for — and now 
it became the duty of every Director to consider how 
he should face it. The resolution had only com- 
pelled them not to sign the despatch except under 
compulsion of a Mandamus. But there were mem- 
bers of the Court, who, like the Deputy-Chair- 
man, were resolute not to affix their signatures, 
under any circumstances, to the obnoxious despatch. 
On the 5th of February — the date which Mr. 
Tucker’s letter bears — six members of the Court, 
Messrs. Astell, Marjoribanks, Wigram, Bussell El- 
lice, Mills, and Thornhill, placed their opinions on 
record in the following brief but emphatic commu- 
nication which they addressed to their colleagues : 

“Adverting to the proceedings which have already taken place 
relative to the claims of the Lucknow Bankers, we feci it to be 
our duty to place upon the records of the Court the expression of 
our determination not to affix our signatures, under any cir- 
cumstances, to the despatch proposed by the Board of Commis- 
sioners; because we are impressed with the deepest conviction 
that any attempt to enforce such claims by the direct inter- 
ference of the British Government, would be nothing short of 
an act of spoliation towards an ancient and prostrate ally, that 
it would compromise the British character, and lead to con- 
sequences most detrimental to the continuance of our rule in 

But there were other members of the Court who 
took different views of their obligations as Directors 
of the Company. One approved of the despatch, 
and declared himself desirous of annexing his sig- 



nature to it.* The Chairman recommended that 
the Court “ should use every legal means in their 
power to prevent the transmission of this most 
objectionable despatch ; but that after having done 
so, they should obey the law, and by that example 
inculcate in others the important duty of obedience 
to their legal orders.” Several members of the 
Court subscribed this letter. The document is an 
important one, for it contains an argumentative ex- 
position of the grounds upon which an influential 
section of the Directors based their belief in the 
impropriety of resisting the operation of the Law. 
Among other points, it was contended that no 
responsibility attached to the Directors for acts 
done in obedience to the authority of the Board, 
when exercised in opposition to the protests of the 
Court. “ Sooner,” said the Chairman, “ than be 
responsible for this draft, I would resign my seat 
— but no such responsibility exists. If I sign it, 
I do so ministerially, and because the law compels 
me ; and surely every Director knows that he is re- 
quired in some cases to do what the Secret Com- 
mittee is always required to do, to act merely minis- 
terially in communicating to the Indian Govern- 
ments orders and instructions for which the Board 
are exclusively responsible.” 

In this letter there is much that has a gloss of 
reason upon it ; but it would seem that the latent 

* Mr. John Forbes. He had been absent from the Court when the reso- 
lution of the 15th of January was passed — or it would not have been carried 



weakness of the argument peeps out' from the above 
sentence. A member of the Secret Committee signs 
minis terially a despatch emanating from the Board 
of Control, of the contents of which despatch he 
does not approve, because he knows that it is the 
intent of the Legislature that in this department of 
the Government the Crown Minister should he 
absolute. The case of the Secret Committee is a 
special and exceptional case. But it was not the 
intent of the Legislature, in framing the Act under 
which India is governed, that in matters of general 
administration, not bearing upon questions with 
which the Crown Ministers, directly or indirectly, 
have any concern, the President of the Board of 
Control should dictate to the Court of Directors, and 
force upon them measures utterly abhorrent to their 
ideas of reason and justice. There may have been 
certain ambiguities in the letter of the law, under 
which the Board may have claimed this right to 
force anything upon a reluctant Court ;* but it was 
assuredly not in harmony with the spirit of the law, 
that the former authority should initiate measures, 

* It was argued, in the Hyderabad case, that the powers of the Board 
extended only to matters relating to the civil or military government of the 
Company or the finances thereof, and that such transactions did not come 
within those categories. This specification was intended to prohibit the 
interference of the Board with the Company’s commercial affairs; but I can 
hardly believe that the Legislature ever intended to confer on the Board such 
powers as they claimed with regard to these Hyderabad and Oude cases, 
although the Charter- Act did give them authority to call upon the Court to 
transmit despatches, framed by the Board, after they (the Court) had been 
instructed and had neglected to prepare them for themselves. The letter of 
the law appears to mo to have been on the side of the Board, hut the spirit 
was with the Court. 



of the expediency or inexpediency of which the latter 
must necessarily be better judges, and compel them, 
in the face of all their aggregate knowledge and 
experience, to attach their names to documents 
which they believe to be irrational and unjust. 

It was rightly said by Serjeant Spankie, arguing 
in behalf of the Company in the Hyderabad case, 
that “ nothing is so material as to distinguish who 
are the acting parties, and not to suffer them to be 
blended and confounded till all responsibility is lost 
between the parties who, to a certain degree concur, 
and to a certain degree revolt and hold back.” 
“ And so,” he said, “ I apprehend, in all cases in 
which the Board take upon themselves the initia- 
tive, the responsibility is with the Board, and that 
the Court of Directors should not be forced into an 
apparent responsibility.” Mr. Loch, and the col- 
leagues who voted with him, contended that there 
was no responsibility. If the President of the 
Board of Control could have signed the despatch 
himself, and merely compelled the Court to transmit 
it, their responsibility might have been merely that 
of a porter or a postman. But as it was necessary 
that the despatch should be adopted by the Court of 
Directors — that they should render it formally and 
officially their act by attaching their names to it — 
that their servants should be called upon, under 
their hands, to carry out the instructions it con- 
tained — there was at least “ an apparent responsi- 
bility.” The act became in India their act, what- 
ever it may have been in England ; and the natives 


of the former country, who knew nothing of India- 
House Protests, or King’s - Bench Mandamuses, 
would have regarded it as their act, and held them 
responsible for it. I do not think, therefore, that 
the responsibility was to be wholly escaped. 

But it was admitted by Mr. Loch that circum- 
stances might arise, to render it incumbent on a 
Director to resign his office rather than sign, even 
ministerially, a despatch forced upon him by the 
Board of Control. The real question at issue, 
therefore, between him and Mr. Tucker, related 
simply to the magnitude of the present occasion. 
Mr. Tucker conceived that now, if ever, the Directors 
should make a stand — that great principles were in- 
volved in the contest between the two authorities — 
and that a fitter occasion for asserting the indepen- 
dence of the Court was not likely to arise. 

Mr. Loch thought that the occasion was sufficient 
to warrant him in going to certain lengths of re- 
sistance ; Mr. Tucker determined that he would go 
all lengths. The Chairman said that he would sign 
the despatch only under the operation of a Man- 
damus. The Deputy-Chairman declared that he 
would not sign it, even if the Mandamus were 
issued. The question is surrounded with many diffi- 
culties. A phalanx of substantial arguments is 
arrayed on either side, and it would ill become me 
to attempt a dogmatic solution of it. It may, how- 
ever, be observed, that rightly to estimate the mag- 
nitude of the occasion, and the degree of resistance 
which it became the Directors to offer, we must 



consider not 'so mucli the single act of attempted 
coercion in the case of the Lucknow Bankers, as the 
aggregation of four different cases of the same kind 
which had been pressed, within a short time, upon 
the reluctant Court. It was, indeed, the cumula- 
tive tyranny and injustice of the Board that was to 
be resisted. All measures short of the actual defiance 
of a Mandamus had already been tried, and had failed. 
It seemed, therefore, to Mr. Tucker and to six of his 
colleagues, that it now became them to carry their 
resistance to the extreme point, and either to resign 
their appointments, or quietly to go to Prison. 

And that they would have done so there is no 
doubt. Mr. Tucker was prepared for the conse- 
quences of resistance ; and as the time approached 
for the issue of the Mandamus, talked cheerfully, 
but resolutely, of going to Prison. The Mandamus 
had been moved for on the last day of January; 
and the first day of term following had been fixed 
upon for the hearing of the case. Of the result 
of the motion there could be no doubt — but just as 
the contest had reached the culminating point of 
interest, it was brought suddenly to a close. The 
proceedings against the Court were stayed. Por 
reasons, which either lie on the surface, or deep 
down in a gulf of mystery, the Mandamus was 
never obtained. The East India Company tri- 
umphed ; and Mr. Tucker did not go to Prison. 




The “Chairs” — Mr. Tucker elected Deputy-Chairman— Succession to the 
Chair — The Bombay Government — Appointment of Mr. Robert Grant — 
The Governor-General — Nomination of Sir Charles Metcalfe — Appoint- 
ment of Lord Heytesbury — Its Revocation — Appointment of Lord Auck- 
land — Mr. Tucker’s Remonstrances— Speech at the King’s Table. 

On the 10th of October, 1833, Mr. Tucker was 
elected Deputy-Chairman of the Court of Directors 
of the East India Company. 

According to the Law and Constitution of the 
East India Company, a Chairman and Deputy- 
Chairman are to he appointed every year on the 
first Wednesday after the General Election in April. 
The appointment rests with the Directors them- 
selves. Sometimes the election is the result of a 
close contest ; at others there is scarcely any com- 
petition. The Deputy-Chairman of the preceding 
year is always, hy common consent, appointed 
Chairman for the ensuing one, except in those rare 
instances when, for peculiar reasons, the out-going 
Chairman is requested to retain his seat for another 
year. The election is in effect, therefore, only the 
election of a Deputy-Chairman. It may, however, 
happen that in the course of the official year, the 

2 F 



death, disqualification, or resignation of the Chair- 
man or Deputy-Chairman necessitates the nomina- 
tion of a successor before the appointed time. In 
1833 both the Chairman and Deputy-Chairman 
resigned in the month of October, so that it became 
necessary to appoint two Directors to their vacant 
seats. Then Mr. Loch was elected Chairman, and 
Mr. Tucker Deputy-Chairman of the Court. 

“I have never,” wrote the latter to one of his 
colleagues a few days before his election, “ sought 
the Chair, for reasons that are pretty well known to 
you and other friends ; but I have never declined 
it. I could not decline that which has never been 
offered me. But I would not shrink from the per- 
formance of any public duty which might be im- 
posed upon me. I never have, it is true, solicited 
the suffrages of my colleagues; nor will I ever 
solicit them. I disapprove of the practice of can- 
vassing for the Chair ; and I never will place any 
colleague in the unpleasant — I may say the painful 
— situation in which I have myself been placed by a 
personal application, when my wish was to oblige, and 
my duty told me that I ought not to assent. Much 

as I esteem our colleague , I cannot support his 

nomination. I consider it indispensable that one of 
the Chairs should be occupied at the present 
moment by an Indian, and if the youngest Indian 
in the Court should be brought forward, he will 

have my preference on public grounds 

If any members of the Court should think proper 
to propose me, and the Court should be pleased 




in consequence to command, my services, their 
commands will be obeyed ; and those services will 
be diligently and zealously exerted ; but I will not 
solicit the honor. ” And then, adverting to what had 
been remarked on the subject out of doors, he con- 
tinued : “ Indeed, I have been strangely placed ; for 
I have actually been reproached out of Court for 
want of zeal and public spirit in not undertaking an 
office which has never been offered me, and which 
has not in reality been within my reach, at least 
not without my having recourse to a proceeding 
which would not at all accord with my notions of 
right and expediency.” 

Such were the opinions which Mr. Tucker enter- 
tained all his life, and in accordance with which, at 
the close of 1833, he accepted the invitation of his 
colleagues, and was elected to fill the Deputy-Chair. 
The period was one which seemed, upon public 
grounds, to render the appointment extremely ad- 
visable. The commercial affairs of the Company 
were now to be wound up ; and it was expedient 
that the most prominent positions in the Court 
should he held by men possessing a thorough practical 
acquaintance, both as merchants and administrators, 
with all the details of the system under which the 
old monopoly had been worked, and with a com- 
prehensive knowledge of the large financial opera- 
tions rendered necessary by the abandonment of the 
Trade. In the month of April, 1834, Mr. Tucker 
succeeded, in due course, to the Chair. In the 
same month the old Charter under which India had 

2 f 2 


* * 

been governed for twenty years expired ; and the 
“ winding-up of the Company’s commercial con- 
cerns” became one of the primary duties of the 

But there were other matters at this time to en- 
gage the thoughts and call forth the energies of 
Mr. Tucker. No greater responsibility attaches to 
the Chairmanship of the East India Company than 
that involved in the nomination of those high offi- 
cers to whom the Government of the Indian Presi- 
dencies is entrusted. On the fit selection of these 
officers, who are appointed by the concurrent autho- 
rity of the Court of Directors and the Board of 
Control,* the welfare of India in no small measure 
depends. There are few matters, indeed, in con- 
nexion with the whole question of Indian Govern- 
ment more important than this — few which it is 
more desirable to illustrate historically in such a 
manner as to show, by a recital of facts, how the 
responsibilities vested by law in the two authorities 
have been practically discharged. 

In the early part of 1834, Lord Clare announced 
his intention of retiring from the Government of 
Bombay. Mr. Charles Grant was President of the 
Board of Control, when his brother, Mr. Robert 
Grant, presented himself as a candidate for the 

* The selection is made, in the first instance, by the Chairman, generally 
in concert with the Deputy. There is then a conference with the President 
of the India Board, and if the authorities concur, the appointment is then 
formally proposed to the Court of Directors, and, when carried, confirmed by 
the Crown. 



vacant government. It was the happy lot and the 
hig h distinction of the elder Charles Grant to live to 
see both his sons giving promise of future eminence. 
After a brilliant university career, Robert had ap- 
plied himself with success to the study of the law ; 
but had varied his legal pursuits by diverging into 
the more attractive fields of literature and states- 
manship. During the discussions which introduced 
the Indian Charter- Act of 1813, he had written an 
elaborate work on the Government of the East 
India Company, and twenty years afterwards, when 
under a new Charter the Legislative Council of 
India had been established, he had been a candi- 
date for that office which was eventually conferred 
on Mr. Macaulay. He was a man of eminent 
ability, and of the highest principles. Eor one not 
trained on the spot in the school of Indian politics 
he had a large acquaintance with Indian affairs. 
He had studied the great subject of Indian govern- 
ment both in the closet and the bureau — both as an 
author and a statesman — and he was eager to turn 
his knowledge to practical account. He had ren- 
dered good service to the Company at home; and 
there was reason to believe that he would render 
good service to them abroad. So when the Govern- 
ment of Bombay was about to be vacated in 1834, 
the Chairman of the East India Company did not 
hesitate to recommend Robert Grant for the office. 
“I anticipate only two objections,” he wrote to 
Charles Grant ; “ the one, that lawyers do not often 
make the best statesmen ; the other, that, connected 



as your brother will be with the Board, the Court 
may not be able to exercise the same efficient control 
over his proceedings. The first objection, I think, 
applies only to those who from habit have bound 
down their min ds to the technicalities of the pro- 
fession. On the second, I may observe that the 
Court will never, I trust, find any difficulty in exert- 
ing all its legal powers.” 

With the full concurrence and approbation of the 
Crown Ministers, Mr. Robert Grant was appointed 
Governor of Bombay. But the selection, although 
sanctioned by the Court of Directors, did not give 
entire satisfaction to all the members of the Court. 
It was whispered that the independence of the Com- 
pany had been compromised — that it was not the per- 
sonal merit of one brother, but the official influence 
of the other, that had caused such an arrangement to 
be made for the future government of the Western 
Presidency — in short, that the Chairman had been 
guilty of truckling to the Board of Control. This 
was in effect, indeed, the charge which, subsequently 
in a more open manner, was brought against Mr. 
Tucker, and with so much authority too, that he 
conceived it to be incumbent upon him to rebut it. 
He therefore addressed a letter to the Court of Di- 
rectors, in which, after alluding to “ the peculiar 
and very unusual terms in which Mr. Grant’s ap- 
pointment had been animadverted upon,” he pro- 
ceeded to say : 

“ .... I had hoped that my public character would 
have saved me from unjust imputations and injurious suspi- 



cions, especially as it must, I think, be known to my oolleagues 
that I have not the slightest connexion, political or personal, 
with his Majesty’s Ministers. 

“ As the law prescribes that every appointment to the office 
of Governor in India ‘ shall be subject to the approbation of 
his Majesty/ I conferred with the President of the Board on 
the selection of a successor to Lord Clare. I did so according 
to what I believed to have been the established usage in such 
cases, and upon grounds of obvious convenience; for it is quite 
clear that without the concurrence of the advisers of the Crown, 
no such appointment could take effect. Indeed, cases might 
be cited where a nomination made by the Court, without the 
concurrence of the Minister, had been overruled. 

“ Having, then, ascertained that the appointment of Mr. 
Robert Grant would meet with the cordial approbation of the 
Cabinet, and seeing no grounds for giving a preference to the 
other candidates who aspired to the office (although unquestion- 
ably gentlemen of high pretensions), I determined to propose 
the appointment to the Court upon my own responsibility , and, 
I will say, upon an honest conviction that he was peculiarly 
qualified for. the high and important trust. My guarantee was 
his character, his known talents, his acquired knowledge, his 
intimate acquaintance with the affairs of India, and his general 
experience in public business. These, I thought, furnished a 
sure promise that his public services would not only be most 
useful to the Government, but that the powers of his mind 
would be beneficially exerted in favor of the people of India. 
In this anticipation I feel satisfied that I shall not be dis- 
appointed. / 

“ I declare that these were the grounds on which I proposed 
the appointment of Mr. Robert Grant to the Government of 
Bombay. I have never compromised my own independence 
or that of the Court. I have never shown subserviency to any 
Minister; and in the new position in which the Court has been 
placed, it has been my anxious study to maintain its authority 
and to uphold its reputation. If I could compromise its inde- 
pendence or my own by any unworthy submission to the 



President of the Board, I should he unfit for the high station 
which I have the honor to fill; and if I could suppose that 
I do not enjoy the full confidence to which I feel myself to 
be justly entitled, I would not hold that station for a single 
day ” 

There were many independent men in the Court 
of Directors, hut not one with a sturdier spirit of 
independence than Mr. Tucker — not one amongst 
them less likely to truckle to the Crown Ministers. 
Only a few months before, he had resolutely declared 
his determination to be carried off to Prison rather 
than to sign an unjust despatch; and he would 
hare abided by the resolution. Well might he say 
that there was nothing in his public character, 
nothing in the antecedents of his life, to warrant 
even a suspicion of his descending to anything 
so foreign to the manliness of his nature. Por 
my own part, indeed, I have a very strong con- 
viction that Mr. Tucker would rather have turned 
the tread-mill or picked oakum all his life than so, 
in a great battle of principle, have compromised 
himself and the Court. At all events, it was his 
good fortune not to wait long for an opportunity of 
proving, by his conduct, the independence of his 
spirit, his loyalty to the Court, and his devotion to 
the interests of India. That honest statesman and 
sturdy reformer, Lord William Bentinck, had now 
held the chief seat in the Government of India for 
more than the wonted period of office, and his fail- 
ing health had compelled him to solicit the appoint- 
ment of a successor. His resignation was received 


at the India House towards the close of the month 
of August. The nomination of a new Governor- 
General now devolved upon the Court of Directors. 
Mr. Tucker, with whom, as Chairman, the selection 
primarily rested, was not long in coming to a deci- 
sion on this most important subject. He did not 
doubt that what India most wanted in that con- 
juncture was a statesman of ripe Indian experience, 
with a name like a household word in the mouths 
of the people.* He saw before him two such men, 
either one of whom might fitly represent the sove- 
reign power in India, and preside over the adminis- 
tration of her affairs, to the benefit alike of the 
parent State and the dependent country. There 
was no need to draw upon the Peerage, or to re- 
sort to the Cabinet for a Governor-General, when 
Elphinstone and Metcalfe were yet in the ranks of 
living statesmen. 

Between the claims of two such men it was diffi- 
cult to decide. And Mr. Tucker did not wish to 
decide. He desired to leave the choice between 
them, to be exercised by the King’s Ministers. It 
might, however, happen that there was no choice. 
Mountstuart Elphinstone was in England, in the 
placid enjoyment of a life of literary leisure, enhancing 
the tranquil pleasures of the Present, rather by a re- 
currence to the associations of an honorable Past, 
than by anticipations of a still more honorable 
Euture. To him, therefore, Mr. Tucker at once 

* It was especially desirable, at that time, when the new Act for the future 
Government of India was to be introduced, that there should be an expe- 
rienced statesman at the head of affairs to give effect to its provisions.— See 
Letters to Mr. Grant in the following chapter. 



addressed himself. “ Government,” he ■wrote, “ may 
have other views ; but I will not lend myself to any 
project which I cannot cordially concur in and 
justify. Others must move, if I am not allowed to 
do what I think right.” He then asked Mr. Elphin- 
stone if, in the event of the Court and the Board 
ratifying the choice of the Chairman, he “ would be 
prepared to undertake the important trust.” 

The answer was in the negative. The brilliant 
offer could not tempt him. Elphinstone mistrusted 
his physical health. He had never been greedy of 
public honors. He knew how to resist all such 
popular allurements ; and he gratefully declined to 
put out his hand for a prize, which the greatest 
soldiers have coveted, and the most successful states- 
men have not refused. 

One difficulty, therefore, was removed. Mr. Tucker 
now saw his way clearly before him. He took coun- 
sel with some of his colleagues, found as he expected 
that they approved of his choice, summoned a special 
Court for the following Wednesday, and then wrote 
to the President of the Board of Control that it was 
his intention to move the following resolutions for 
the confirmation of Sir Charles Metcalfe in the office 
of Governor-General, which he then provisionally 

“ That this Court deeply lament that the state of Lord William 
Bentinck’s health should he such as to deprive the Company of 
his most valuable services ; and this Court deem it proper to 
record, on the occasion of his Lordship’s resignation of the 
office of Governor-General, their high sense of the distinguished 


ability, energy, zeal, and integrity with which his Lordship has 
discharged the arduous duties of his exalted station. 

“That, referring to the appointment which has been con- 
ferred by the Court, with the approbation of his Majesty, on 
Sir Charles T. Metcalfe, provisionally, to act as Governor- 
General of India, upon the death, resignation, or coming away 
of Lord William Bentinck ; and adverting also to the public 
character and services of Sir Charles Metcalfe, whose know- 
ledge, experience, and talents, eminently qualify him to prose- 
cute successfully the various important measures consequent on 
the new Charter- Act, this Court are of opinion that it would 
be inexpedient at present to make any other arrangement for 
supplying the office of Governor-General. And it is resolved 
accordingly, that the Chairs be authorised and instructed to 
communicate this opinion to his Majesty’s Ministers, through 
the President of the Board qf Commissioners for the Affairs of 

Some causes of delay Laving interfered, the Reso- 
lutions given above were not carried through the 
Court before the 26th of September. They were 
then voted by an overwhelming majority. Out- 
wardly they indicated only the desire of the Court 
that Sir Charles Metcalfe should continue to hold 
the provisional appointment, under which, on the 
departure of Lord William Bentinck, he was em- 
powered to assume the title and discharge the duties 
of Governor-General; but they meant something 
more than this. When Mr. Tucker enclosed the 

* In the following chapter another draft of these Resolutions, differing 
from the above, is given, at the end of a letter to Mr. Charles Grant. It will 
be seen that the copy in the text is an amendment and amplification of the 
original sketch. 



first draft of them to the President of the India 
Board, he wrote to that gentleman, saying : “ I have 
already conferred with many of my colleagues, and 
by far the greater number cordially incline to the 
arrangement, which I shall feel it my duty to pro- 
pose to the Court, and to submit to you, for the 
consideration of his Majesty’s Government. It is 
to confirm Sir Charles Metcalfe in the office of 
Governor-General of India.”* And he subsequently 
explained that the Resolutions were framed in the 
hope and in the belief that his Majesty’s Ministers, 
having once recognised the expediency of retaining 
Sir Charles Metcalfe in the Government, would soon 
consent to issue a new ComWission, and render the 
provisional appointment a substantive one. 

But the advisers of the Crown were not inclined 
to regard the matter in this light. They argued 
that a provisional appointment was one thing and a 
permanent appointment another ; and they demurred 
to the permanent appointment of a man w ho had no 
other claims to preferment than his own individual 
fitness for the office to which it was proposed to 
appoint him. To nominate Sir Charles Metcalfe — 
a civil servant of the East India Company, who had 
spent all his life in India — was, according to their 
narrow views of political expediency, to throw away 
a great chance. It was to appoint a man of no 

* The letter from which this passage is taken is given entire in the follow- 
ing chapter. 


political connexions, who was neither to he pro- 
moted nor to he got rid of, for the immediate benefit 
of their party, to the highest office in the gift of the 
Crown. Whether in reality an appointment distin- 
guished hy an unusual amount of disinterestedness 
and public spirit, would not have strengthened the 
party more than the course which they determined 
to pursue, is a question of no very difficult solution ; 
but the fable of the Dog and the Shadow is as ap- 
plicable to political as to private life ; and his Ma- 
jesty’s Ministers decreed that the appointment of 
Sir Charles Metcalfe to the Governor-Generalship 
should not be suffered to become a fact. 

Arguments were not wanting in support of this 
decision. But it is a trick of our self-love to find 
a never-ending flow of argument in support of what- 
ever consorts with our personal convenience. If 
knowledge and experience, and proved capacity, 
were to he recognised as the best claims to employ- 
ment in the highest offices of the Indian Govern- 
ment, all the Indian patronage of the Crown would 
fall among the Elphinstones and the Metcalfes ; and 
how then were Ministers to purchase aristocratic 
support, or to provide for impracticable colleagues ? 
So, on receipt of an intimation from the Court of 
Directors that a Resolution had been passed in 
favor of the appointment of Sir Charles Metcalfe, the 
Board of Control announced that the Company’s 
nominee was considered ineligible to the station of 
Governor-General; and the grounds of objection 
were such as would have excluded the whole, both of 



the civil and. milit ary services of India. It hap- 
pened that some years before, Mr. Canning, who 
seldom said foolish things, but who was not alto- 
gether infallible, had pronounced an opinion hostile 
to the claims of the Company’s servants ; and now 
his authority was emphatically quoted, as though 
it had all the significance of Scripture. But the 
Court of Directors were not to be put down even by 
a dictum of Mr. Canning. If the question were to 
be settled by a reference to the recorded wisdom of 
this great statesman, they also might quote his 
words in favor of the claims of the Company’s 
servants;* but they appealed to the authority of 
deeds rather than of words — they asked, with the 
old Homan, Dicta an Facta pluris sint ; and reso- 
lutely stood by their first decree. 

The independence of the. Court and the welfare of 
the people of India could not have been in better 
hands than in those of Mr. Tucker. He took his 
stand resolutely upon the palpable reason and jus- 
tice of the case, and was not inclined to bate a jot. 
When the letter of the Board announcing the re- 
fusal of the Crown Minister to ratify the choice of 
the Court was received by him, he drew up a 
remonstrance, in the shape of a letter to the Presi- 
dent of the India Board, and on the 8th of October 
submitted it for the approval of his colleagues. It 

* Mr* Canning had said in 1813 that the system could not be a bad one, 
which had produced all the able and distinguished Company’s servants who 
had then recently given their evidence before the Parliamentary Committee, 
and at a later period had spoken of Sir Thomas Munro as a man in whom 
the highest qualities of the soldier and statesman were pre-eminently united. 



is an admirable specimen of official correspondence 
— temperate and dignified in tone ; clear and forcible 
in diction : 


“ Sir, — We have had the honor to receive your letter of 
the 1st instant, communicating to us, for the information of 
the Court of Directors, the sentiments of his Majesty’s Ministers 
on the resolution passed by the Court on the 26th ultimo, for 
continuing Sir Charles T. Metcalfe in the office of Governor- 
General of India. 

“ Having laid your letter before the Court, we have been 
requested to submit to you the following observations : 

The Court of Directors concur with his Majesty’s Ministers 
in opinion that, in proceeding to fill up the office of Governor- 
General, a permanent arrangement is to be preferred ; and 
impressed as they are with the conviction that Sir Charles 
Metcalfe is peculiarly qualified to do justice to that high and 
difficult trust, and that his services are of the utmost im- 
portance at the present moment, it would have been most 
satisfactory to the Court if the King’s Ministers had thought 
proper to advise his Majesty to give his royal approbation to 
the appointment of Sir Charles Metcalfe to the office of Go- 
vernor-General, upon a footing more permanent than that 
which the Court had themselves proposed. 

“ But the Court of Directors have learnt with deep regret 
that Sir Charles Metcalfe is considered by his Majesty’s Go- 
vernment to be ineligible to the station of Governor-General; 
and upon grounds which would exclude the whole Service of 
India from that high office. 

“ The Court of Directors feel little disposed to engage in dis- 
cussing the merits of an opinion which his Majesty’s Ministers 
appear to have adopted on the authority of the late Mr. Canning. 
They will only observe, that the whole course of our trans- 
actions in British India may be referred to as furnishing the 
most conclusive evidence that the servants of the Company, 
both civil and military, are eminently qualified for the highest 



public trust, and that the important office of Governor-General 
has been held by several of them with the utmost advantage 
to the national interests. The Court will not unnecessarily 
recall to the recollection of his Majesty’s Ministers those names 
which have rendered the Service of India illustrious — that 
Service to whose merits, to whose talents and high tone of 
character, the late Mr. Canning has himself borne the most 
unqualified testimony. 

“ But the Court cannot refrain from observing that, inde- 
pendently of the impolicy of putting forth any general declara- 
tion of ineligibility, his Majesty’s Ministers appear to them to 
be scarcely justified in proposing to narrow the choice of the 
Court, by excluding any class of men, possessing the necessary 
qualifications, from the office of Governor- General. 

tl The Court of Directors, in exercising those functions with 
which the law invested them, are still desirous, at all times, to 
act in cordial concurrence with the King’s Government, and 
especially in those instances where the two authorities are 
called upon to act together. With this feeling, the Court will, 
at the proper time, take into their consideration the expediency 
of adopting an arrangement for filling up the office of Go- 
vernor-General of India; and the Court cannot for a moment 
doubt that his Majesty’s Ministers will fully concur with them 
in opinion that high qualification for the office must be an 
indispensable condition of the appointment — that the selection 
must be made primarily upon this ground, without regard to 
other considerations — and that to lose sight of this leading 
object would be to compromise the interests and, perhaps, the 
safety of our Indian Empire. 

“ We have the honor, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ W. Stanley Clarke. 

“ East India House, 8th October, 1834.” 

This letter was carried triumphantly through the 
Court. Only one dissentient voice was lifted up 
against it. At the same time Mr. Tucker wrote 


privately to Charles Grant,* remonstrating, in still 
more forcible language, against the Ministerial 
dictum, and pronouncing the practice, which -it was 
intended to support, an unconstitutional infraction 
of the intent of the law under which India was 
governed. He took counsel also with the legal 

* In the letters which I have quoted it has appeared so prominently that 
Mr. Grant was himself a candidate for the office of Governor-General, that 
there was no need to repeat it in the text. This has long been, indeed, an his- 
torical fact. It was first announced to the country by Mr. Mills, who, in a 
speech characterised by his wonted candor and fearlessness, delivered at a 
Court of Proprietors on the 15th of July, 1835, laid bare the whole proceed- 
ings of the Court and the King’s Ministers. Speaking of Mr. Tucker’s oppo- 
sition to Charles Grant’s appointment, he said that “ their late Chairman, 
with that independence of spirit whicli distinguished his conduct both in 
India and in this country, resisted the attempt of the President of the Board 
of Control, though backed by all the powers of Government and the an- 
nouncement was received with loud cheers. But, although Mr. Tucker acted 
thus without hesitation, as he was bound to do, he did not oppose the appoint- 
ment of Mr. Grant without strong feelings of personal regret. I have already 
said that he respected and loved the man. He recognised his many fine 
qualities; but believed that “ ambition should be made of sterner stuff,” and 
that this sterner stuff was wanting. What Mr. Tucker wrote on this subject 
to Mr. Grant himself is so honorable to both parties, that, after a lapse of 
eighteen years, it may be cited without impropriety or indelicacy. “ With 
respect to yourself,” he wrote on the 22nd of August, 1834, “ I hope that it is 
unnecessary for me to repeat, that I entertain the highest opinion of your 
talents, your various acquirements, and your intimate acquaintance with the 
affairs of India; and, if I were called upon to point out an objection to you, it 
would have reference to qualities of the mind and disposition, which in pri- 
vate life are justly esteemed virtues. But in India there is much rugged 
work, calling sometimes for the most determined austerity of purpose. Your 
having held your present office so long, and your long and familiar acquaint- 
ance with the public transactions in India, would unquestionably give you a 
very great advantage in undertaking duties of extreme difficulty; but there 
are, on the other hand, objections to the arrangement, to which the Court 
would, I am persuaded, attach the greatest weight. Among these, your posi- 
tion relatively with your brother, and the unreasonableness of committing to 
one family nearly the whole power and patronage of India, would immediately 
be insisted upon. I must candidly own that they would operate with me; 
but even if I were prepared (which I confess I am not) to propose the appoint- 
ment, I feel persuaded that I could not carry with me a majority of the 




advisers of the Company relative to the interpreta- 
tion of that clause of the Charter- Act which com- 
pelled the Court to nominate a successor within two 
months of the announcement of the resignation of 
an Indian Governor, and on their failure trans- 
ferred the right of nomination to the Crown. The. 
decision of the Law-officers was, that under the 
circumstances which had arisen the right of nomi- 
nation would not be forfeited. But the Crown 
Ministers took a different view of the matter ; and 
were inclined to assert their prerogative. As no 
recent intelligence had then been received from Cal- 
cutta, and as it was probable that further informa- 
tion from the seat of the Supreme Government 
might bear upon the question at issue, it might 
have been convenient not to press it to an imme- 
diate decision. But with the prospect before the 
Court of forfeiting their right of nomination, what 
other course was it possible to pursue ? 

It was a perplexing and embarrassing situation 
in which Mr. Tucker now found himself placed. 
He was resolute not to propose the appointment of 
a man in whose public character and tried capacity 
he had not the fullest faith. He had written in 
August, with reference to this subject, that he 
would rather resign his office than be a party to 
any such appointment. “ I never can bring for- 
ward,” he said, “a measure which I am not pre- 
pared cordially and strenuously to support and jus- 
tify ; nor can I vote upon the propositions of others, 
in opposition to my own judgment; but I would 
willingly leave the Chair to make room for others, 



if my remaining in it would create any obstacle to 
the adoption of any arrangement likely to be pro- 
ductive of public advantage, and to meet with the 
concurrence of the Court.” And now, in October, 
having vainly endeavored to secure the nomination 
of either Elphinstone or Metcalfe, and not having 
confidence in any of the Ministerial proteges, he 
found himself approaching the close of the period 
of grace allowed by the Act of Parliament, with- 
out any appointment having been made, or being 
likely to be made, whilst the Crown Ministers were 
seemingly waiting to take advantage of the lapse. 
The President of the Board of Control had, some 
time before, expressed an opinion that no time 
should be lost in appointing a successor to Lord 
William Bentinck ; but now, although Mr. Tucker 
pressed for a declaration of the Ministerial views, 
Mr. Grant declared that he was not prepared to 
enter on the question. He was playing a waiting- 
game, thinking either to compel the Court to act at 
a disadvantage, or to punish them for not acting 
at all.* 

It seems to have been, at this time, the policy of 
the Crown Ministers not to precipitate the appoint- 
ment of a Governor-General, but to wait patiently, 
in the hope that something might be written down 
in that great Chapter of Accidents which contains 
the solution of so many perplexing enigmas. And 
they waited to some purpose. For before the year 
had expired — before they had contrived to induce 

* See letter from Mr. Tucker to Mr, Charles Grant [October 16, 1834], 
given in the next chapter, page 480. 

9 CL 9 . 



the Court of Directors to nominate a Governor- 
General of the Minis terial party — the Cabinet was 
broken up and Parliament was dissolved. 

All through the year, events had been rapidly tend- 
ing to this pass. The retirement of Lord Grey in Au- 
gust had greatly weakened the Government, and now, 
in November, the elevation of Lord Althorp to the 
TJpper House brought matters to a crisis. The removal 
of the popular leader of the House of Commons to a 
sphere of limited influence and utility was but the 
last fitful gust that overthrew the tottering fabric. 
Lord Melbourne believed that the mischief was not 
irreparable. He went down to Brighton to persuade 
Lord John Bussell to take Lord Spencer’s place ; but 
the King, believing that the Cabinet could not be 
patched up in this manner, sent for the Duke of 

Sir Bobert Peel was, at this time, the hope of the 
Conservative party. But he was wandering among 
the ruins of old Borne, intent rather upon the sha- 
dowy dreams of the Past than the solid realities of 
the Present. Party and Place were distant from his 
thoughts when he was summoned from the banks of 
the Tiber to the banks of the Thames, and invited 
to take the command of a Ministry of his own re- 
cruiting. Hastening to London, on what must have 
seemed to him a bootless errand, he arrived there in 
the second week of December, and waited on the 
King. Before the end of the month Parliament 
was dissolved; and the new year opened with a 
General Election. It was altogether a hopeless ex- 


periment. The Whig Ministry had lost the confi- 
dence of the country, because they had exhibited 
certain leanings towards Toryism which the people 
could not tolerate ; and now the Tories themselves 
were seeking for public support. It was certain that 
the new Parliament would not keep the Ministers 
in their places ; and it had scarcely assembled before 
the fate of the Government was sealed. 

But before the assembling of Parliament a new 
Governor-General of India had been nominated by 
the Court of Directors and accepted by the Crown. 
On the 28th of January, 1835, Lord Heytesbury 
was appointed; on the 5th of February, the ap- 
proval of the Crown was given — and there seemed 
to be no sort of obstacle to the completion of an 
arrangement which was looked upon with favor by 
the authorities both in the East and West end of the 
town. Lord Heytesbury was a distinguished Euro- 
pean diplomatist, and a man of moderate political 
opinions. Of India he knew nothing ; but as it 
had become an axiom among English statesmen 
that ignorance and inexperience are essential qualifi- 
cations for Indian office, the selection was at least as 
harmless as any other that could have been made 
from among the same class of men. “ The appoint- 
ment,” said Mr. Tucker, in an able minute called 
forth by circumstances which will presently be nar- 
rated, “ was formally and deliberately made by the 
Court of Directors under the provisions of the ex- 
isting law, with the full approbation of his Majesty. 
... It was the free and unbiassed act of the Court. 



It devolved upon me to have the honor of proposing 
him to my colleagues ; and I did so, not hastily, 
not under the domineering influence of the Govern- 
ment, but deliberately, after inquiry, and after satis- 
fying myself that his Lordship was likely to do ample 
justice to the high and responsible trust which it 
was ’proposed to confide to him.” — “Sir Robert 
Peel’s Ministry, I can declare,” continued Mr. 
Tucker, “ acted most honorably on the occasion : 
the great object seemed to me to make the most 
judicious selection for the office ; and if it were per- 
mitted me to enter into the details of what passed 
on the occasion, I could establish beyond all dispute 
that the (Conservative) Ministry were prepared to 
concur in the appointment of one totally uncon- 
nected with them in party politics.”* 

This “ one” was Mountstuart Elphinstone. “ Lord 
Heytesbury’s appointment,” wrote Mr. Tucker in a 
private letter, dated June 28, 1885, “ was not dic- 
tated by any party spirit, nor intended to promote 
any party views. The first individual whom I 
named was Mr. Elphinstone, whoso family and con- 
nexions (as you know) are all Whigs; and Lord 
Ellenborough, I believe, immediately wrote to him 
to express the concurrence of the King’s Govern- 
ment. I had made the proposition to Mr. Elphin- 
stone during the former Administration of Lord 
Melbourne; and I was prepared to place him in 
nomination, if his health would have permitted him 

See Memorials of Indian Government , pp. 449, 450. 


to accept the charge. The late (Conservative) Mi- 
nistry showed no disposition whatever to force any 
individual upon us. They acted most honorably, 
and the sole object seemed to be to find out the best 
qualified party within reach. Lord Heytesbury had 
retired from public life, and was drawn from his 
retreat under a conviction of his fitness fo* the 
office. I had never seen his Lordship previously ; 
but I know from very high authority that on the 
Continent he is held in the highest estimation, not 
merely as a skilful diplomatist, but for those higher 
qualities which, as distinguishing the best of our 
countrymen, commands the respect of foreigners.”* 
On the 4th of March, Lord Heytesbury was sworn 
in as Governor-General of India. The usual Fare- 
well Banquet was given to him at the Albion 
Tavern. The entertainment was a brilliant one. 
Sir Henry Fane, who had been appointed Com- 
mander-in-Chief, was also the guest of the night. 
The Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, and 
many others of the most distinguished men of the 
.age, were to be seen assembled in the Banquet- 
room. After the lapse of nearly a score of years, 
all the circumstances of this great dinner are vividly 
remembered by many of the guests. Mr. Tucker, 
who occupied the Chair, spoke with even something 

* In a Postscript to this letter, Mr. Tucker adds: “In excluding, as I 
have wished to do, all party feeling from our Court, I do not, of course, dis- 
claim political opinions and preferences. Every man who reflects at all, 
must adopt political opinions, and must associate himself, more or less,, with 
those who adopt similar opinions ; but my maxim has been that India ought 
to be of no party— and that our Court ought to be independent, and to stand 
aloof from all party connexions, which might compromise its independence.” 



more than his wonted animation and impressiveness. 
Among all the toasts that he introduced, not one 
was given out with so much earnestness of utterance 
and cordiality of manner as the health of the Duke 
of Wellington ;* and I have heard it said by an 
impartial and a competent witness, that the Duke 
rarely spoke with so much feeling and so much 
eloquence as when, responding to the toast, he re- 
verted to his past career and his early connexion 
with the Company. Mr. Tucker was all his life a 
consistent advocate of Peace, and for the soldier 
who fought for the mere love of fighting, no matter 
what his eminence, what his success, he entertained 
a sovereign contempt. But the qualities that make 
up a great warrior no man knew better how to ap- 
preciate ; and no man more respected the Duke of 
Wellington than Mr. Tucker. The feeling of respect, 
indeed, was reciprocal between them. The Duke 
recognised the ability and integrity of Mr. Tucker ; 
and though for a time he withdrew his favor from 
the East India Director, it may be doubted whether 
he ever ceased to esteem the man.f 
So Lord Heytesbury partook of the Barewell 
Banquet at the Albion, and was publicly congra- 
tulated there as the Governor-General Elect. Pri- 

♦ In the course of the speech, whilst alluding to the might with which 
Wellington had broken the strength of our national enemies, Mr. Tucker 
struck the glass before him with the Chairman’s hammer, and shivered it to 
pieces. It was not a theatrical coup; it was a mere accident — but the im- 
pressiveness of the speech was enhanced by so striking an illustration. 

f When Mr. Tucker was with his family at Walmer, in 1840 , the Duke, 
hearing of his arrival, exclaimed: “ Mr. Tucker here! I’ll go and see him.” 
And he did so— immediately inviting him and the members of his family to 
the castle. 



vately lie was busy with bis preparations — prepara- 
tions not limited to his material outfit, for which 
the accustomed grant of money had been paid by 
the Company — but extending to the inner equip- 
ment of his mind ; for he was continually in commu- 
nication with Mr. Tucker, and exhibited a laudable 
eagerness to acquire information relating both to 
the internal and external affairs of his new Govern- 
ment. His willingness to learn promised well for 
his after-career — but it was written down in the 
Chapter of Accidents that there was to be no after- 
career. The Conservative Ministry had been in a 
moribund state from the very day of its birth ; and 
now, in April, before Lord Heytesbury had em- 
barked for Calcutta, the last throes of mortal sick- 
ness were upon it, and it perished for lack of 

Upon this the King sent for Lord Melbourne; 
and the old Whig Ministry was reconstructed — the 
same, “ with a difference.” Mr. Charles Grant was 
promoted to the Colonial Office, and Sir John Cam 
Hobhouse went to the India Board. If great clever- 
ness and great boldness had been all the qualities 
requisite in an Indian Minister, the appointment 
would have been an excellent one. A man of varied 
accomplishments, with a genius which, if full justice 
had been done to it, might have placed him in the 
front rank of the statesmen of the age, and an auda- 
cious candor which commanded the unwilling ad- 
miration even of those who condemned it, he was as 
little likely to bungle through his new duties, for 



want of official aptitude, as any member of the 
Ministry, but perhaps, of all its members, the most 
likely to commit himself and his colleagues to some 
act of splendid temerity. He was a very able, 
but a very unsafe man. Possessing many fine 
qualities both of head and heart, he yet lacked those 
which are most essential to the character of a states- 
man ; for he was without prudence and discretion. 
Of India and its affairs he knew little; and ig- 
norance did not magnify their importance in his 
mind — the omne ignotum pro magnifico principle 
was entirely reversed — for he held them of very 
little account. He had not long, indeed, taken his 
seat at the India Board, before he publicly declared, 
that he thought it better that the interests of India 
should suffer than that the Minister of the day 
should be defeated.* Such opinions may have en- 
deared him to his party, to which he was consist- 
ently true — no small merit in an age of tergiversa- 
tion — hut the enunciation of them was not a cir- 
cumstance of happy augury for the future welfare 
of the country whose destinies were to be committed 
to his hands. 

Such, in a few words, was the man who, at the 
end of the month of March, met the “ Chairs” for 
the first time, and confidentially announced that the 
Ministry of which he was a member had come to 
the resolution of revoking Lord Heytesbury’s ap- 

* See speech of Mr. Mills in the Court of Proprietors, July 15 , 1835 . — 
Asiatic Journal. See also Appendix C. 



pointment.* They had suffered this rich piece of 
patronage to slip through their hands in the autumn, 
and now they were determined to lose no time in 
grasping at it again, and securing it by greater 
promptitude of action. And they did not miss it a 
second time. Lord Heytesbury’s appointment was 
revoked ; and an amiable nobleman, who had exhi- 
bited at the Admiralty some aptitude for official 
business, but whose qualities were generally of that 
negative character which can secure for a man only 
a respectable character as a statesman, and that 
only in quiet times and ordinary conjunctures, was 
selected to fill his place. Lord Auckland was ap- 
pointed Governor-General of India. + 

* Perhaps it ought more strictly to be written, “ had formed an intention 
of revoking.” The “ resolution” came afterwards. “ At the close of the 
month of April,” wrote Mr. Tucker, “Lord Heytesbury’s preparations for 
embarkation were complete; but at the first interview which the Chairs had 
with the President of the India Board, after that right honorable gentleman 
had assumed office on the 30th of that month, they were informed, under the 
injunction of strict confidence, that his Majesty’s Ministers intended to re- 
commend the revocation of Lord Heytesbury’s appointment ; and the Chairs 
were, not released from this injunction of confidence (which, indeed, was re- 
peated at the instance of the President tlirough one of the Board’s secre- 
taries) until the Cabinet had resolved upon the measure, which was accord- 
ingly first officially announced in the President’s letters to the Chairs of the 
4th of May. Not one reason, however, was given for setting aside in so 
abrupt and unprecedented a manner the appointment of a nobleman who was 
selected for the office of Governor-General solely upon public grounds, and 
free from all party bias or political feeling.” 

t The Whigs claimed credit at this time for having offered the appoint- 
ment to Mountstuart Elphinstone. At a meeting of the Court of Proprietors, 
Colonel Leicester Stanhope ostentatiously announced that this offer was one of 
the first acts of the new Ministry. No such offer was ever made ; but if it 
had been, I think it not improbable that the Whigs would have been about 
as sincere as the Tories. Mr. Elphinstone had declined the appointment, 
on account of the state of his health, when the Court of Directors were 



Mr. Tucker had by this time quitted the Chair. 
He had ceased, indeed, to be a member of the 
Court of Directors, for his year of rustication had 
come round, and, therefore, he had no part in the 
councils of the India House. But these proceed- 
ings rendered him indignant in the extreme; and 
he drew up some masterly comments on the impro- 
priety of the Government measure, and the evil 
consequences of rendering India, in any sense, the 
Government of a party. These minutes he could 
not officially record at the India House ; hut he sent 
a copy of them to Sir Robert Peel and other Con- 
servative statesmen, and he embodied their sub- 
stance in a series of Resolutions, which he proposed 
to submit to the Court of Proprietors. Mr. Praed, 
who had been Secretary to the Board of Control 
under the Peel Ministry, had given notice of a 
motion for the production of papers, and with re- 
ference to this, Mr. Tucker wrote to the Tory 
leader : 


41 Southgate, 26th June, 1835. 

“ Dear Sir, — I take a deep interest in the question which, 
I understand, will be brought forward in the House of Com- 
mons on Monday next by Mr. Praed ; and, in fact, I am per- 
sonally concerned, as the party who proposed to the Court of 

anxious to appoint him, in the early part of 1834 ; and it was well known 
that he could not be induced to accept it. If the Whigs had really made the 
offer, as something more than a sham, they must have got over the objections 
which existed, when Mr. Grant was at the Board of Control, to a Governor- 
General reared in the ranks of the Company’s service ; and if they had 
abandoned their prejudices against competent and experienced statesmen, 
there was no obstacle to the appointment of Sir Charles Metcalfe. 



Directors the appointment of Lord Heytesbury to the Govern- 
ment of India. 

“ You will, therefore, I trust, excuse the liberty I take in 
submitting to you the accompanying papers. The one is the 
sketch of a series of Resolutions, which I propose to bring 
forward, eventually, in the Court of Proprietors. The other 
is the draft of a proposed dissent, prepared at the East India 
House, but not yet recorded; nor do I know whether any of 
my colleagues will determine to record it. I am not, at pre- 
sent, a member of the Court, or I should certainly feel it to be 
my duty to place on record a Protest, couched in the strongest 
terms, against the act of supercession. My own proposed 
Resolutions express very imperfectly the objections to which 
the proceeding is liable; but by you these objections will be 
felt in all their force, and will, I am sure, be exposed in the 
most forcible manner. I shall not be found to call in question 
the Prerogative of the Crown, but the recall of Lord Heytes- 
bury is the act of the Minister, who is responsible for it to the 

“ I cannot hope to throw any light on the subject; but the 
accompanying papers will, at least, show the interest which it 
has excited; and I am willing to hope that it cannot fail to 
excite a strong interest in Parliament. At all events, I feci 
assured that it is in hands which will do full justice to it. 

“ I have the honor to be, with great respect, 

“ Dear Sir, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 

The Resolutions to which allusion is here made 
were not brought forward at the Court of Proprie- 
tors. Mr. Praed’s motion for the production of 
papers was negatived ; and it was considered, there- 
fore, expedient that the Resolutions submitted to 
the Court should embody a call for the documents 
refused by Parliament. But as Mr. Tucker’s draft 
contains in a small space the substance of the ar- 



guments elsewhere set forth in detail, it may be 
advantageously inserted in this place : 


“ That this Court cordially concur in and highly approve 
the opinions expressed in the letter of their Court of Directors, 
bearing date the 6th ultimo, to the President of the Board of 
Commissioners for the Affairs of India, on the occasion of the 
superccssion of the Right Honorable Lord Heytesbury , who stood 
appointed to the important office of Governor- General of India. 

“ That this Court could not view otherwise than with feel- 
ings of deep concern and alarm any attempt to render the 
high and responsible station of Governor- General of India 
subservient to political purposes in this country, contrary to 
the manifest intentions of the Legislature, which has carefully 
provided against the assumption of the patronage of India, 
directly or indirectly, by the Ministers of the Crown. 

“ That the act of cancelling an appointment formally and 
deliberately made by the Court of Directors under the pro- 
visions of the law, without the plea of incompetency, or other 
sufficient cause assigned, must be regarded as an infringement 
of the rights of the East India Company, and as calculated to 
degrade the Court of Directors in the eyes of their servants and 
public, and so far, to weaken their legitimate authority and 

“ That the practice of recalling the Governors of India, 
upon considerations of political conveniency, on every change 
of Administration (such changes having been of late years very 
frequent), must have the effect of degrading the office and of 
impairing its efficiency, since men of independent fortune and 
high character would not be found to proceed to a distant 
country, and to undertake a difficult and responsible trust, 
when held upon so precarious a tenure; while the influence 
and authority of such high functionaries would be weakened 
in consequence of this want of permanency in their situations; 
the confidence of the public would be diminished; measures 
requiring time and persevering labor to bring them to 



maturity would not be undertaken; and the public servants 
abroad would be taught to look to their political connexions, 
and to political' influence in this country, for that promotion 
which has heretofore been sought as the reward of merit and 
useful service. 

“ That this Court regard with sentiments of the most pro- 
found respect the Royal Prerogative; but impressed as they 
are with the conviction that the appointment of Lord Heytes- 
bury to the office of Governor- General of India was adopted by 
the Court of Directors, and approved by the late Government, 
on public considerations, without reference to political objects; 
that the high character, the known talents, and eminent services 
of this nobleman in various stations of great trust, and under cir- 
cumstances of great delicacy and difficulty, furnish a strong and 
satisfactory assurance that his services in the important office of 
Governor-General of India might be expected to promote, not 
only the well-being and prosperity of our Indian subjects, but 
the great interests of the empire at large — this Court earnestly 
recommend to their Court of Directors to address a further re- 
monstrance to the President of the Board on the supcrccssion 
of Lord Heytesbury, and to urge upon his Majesty’s Ministers, 
in respectful, but decided terms, the expediency of their with- 
drawing the letter of recall, and of giving effect to an appoint- 
ment which has met with such general approbation, and 
from which such favorable results may reasonably be anti- 

The call for papers at the India House, moved for 
by Mr. Mills, seconded by Mr. Tucker, was success- 
ful. There was a long and energetic debate. The 
opposition, headed by Sir Charles Forbes, contested 
the point with some spirit; but the papers were 
eventually voted. This was on the 15th of July. 
Six days before the meeting, Mr. Tucker had ad- 
dressed to the Court of Directors a long and vigor- 
ously-written letter, reviewing all the circumstances 


of Lord Heytesbury’s appointment, and commenting 
upon the grievous injury that would he inflicted 
upon India, if the administration of her affairs were 
to he directly or indirectly influenced hy the strife 
of parties at home.* This also Mr. Tucker sent to 
Sir Robert Peel, who, acknowledging the receipt of 
it, truly said: “I think you underrate the effect 
which your Protests and Remonstrances will pro- 
duce. They may not avail in rescinding that par- 
ticular act of unwarrantable interference, against 
which they are especially directed, but they will 
remain on record as a public proof that the undue 
exercise of power was not tamely acquiesced in, but 
that its motives were exposed, and its consequences 
deprecated, with equal vigilance, independence, and 


And this, indeed, was the use of Mr. Tucker’s 
remonstrances. Lord Auckland went out to India ; 
but the revocation of Lord Heytesbury’s appoint- 
ment is an historical fact, the character of which has 
been painted in its true colors. Of the soundness 
of the arguments adduced in the papers to which I 
have referred, it is difficult to entertain a doubt. 
It may, of course, be urged that it is at all 
times desirable that the Governor- General of India 
should enjoy the entire confidence of the Crown 
Ministers. But, as to enjoy the confidence of 
the Ministry means, in ordinary official language, 
to belong to the same party, if this consideration 
were paramount, it would be necessary to change 

* See Memorials of Indian Government , in which this paper is inserted. 


the Governor- General of India as often as the Pre- 
sident of the Board of Control, and the Government 
of India would then become, to all intents and pur- 
poses, the Government of a Party. If a Tory Go- 
vernment can have no confidence in a Whig states- 
man, or a Whig Government no confidence in a 
Tory, it may be, and we believe it is, desirable that 
the Governor-General of India should not be closely 
connected either with one party or the other — that 
men like Elphinstone and Metcalfe, whom neither 
Paction would mistrust, on account of their Party 
views or political antecedents, should be appointed 
to this high office ; but it certainly is not desirable 
that the Governor-General of India should occupy a 
seat from which he may any day be driven by a 
gust of Parliamentary caprice at St. Stephen’s, or 
the impetus of a Downing-street fracas. 

It is true that in this instance Lord Ileytesbury 
was only a GovemQr-General Elect — that he had 
only been appointed to fill the office — that he had 
only received as much of the Company’s money as 
was supposed to be sufficient to provide his outfit, 
and that his performances in the service of the Com- 
pany had been limited to the consumption of the 
initiatory turtle, and the delivery of the inaugural 
address at the Albion. But, in principle at least, 
it was as much a recall of a Governor-General — and 
a recall for Party purposes — as if Lord Heytesbury 
had actually inhaled the dust of Calcutta, and gazed 
at the snows of the eternal Himalaya. It was 
known throughout India that this nobleman had 

2 H 



been appointed Governor-General of India, and in 
the presence of his Majesty’s Minister and the 
authorities of the India House had been publicly 
congratulated on his accession to office. Therefore, 
although the mischief of his precipitate recall might 
not have been so disastrous as if any great political 
measures had been suddenly arrested by his removal 
from office, doubtless much mischief was done. The 
natives of India had been taught, that often as they 
had been told that their country was never again to 
be made the battle-field of Party, their chief ruler 
was, after all, not the representative of the British 
Sovereign or of the British people, but the repre- 
sentative of a Paction that might be dominant to- 
day and utterly prostrate to-morrow. They had 
seen Charles Metcalfe Sahib set aside first for one 
English Peer and then for another, of neither of 
whom they had ever heard; they had seen three 
English Ministries within the space of a few months, 
each Ministry grasping at the patronage of India, 
and eager to send out an untried nominee of its own. 
Could anything have been more surely calculated 
than this to shake their confidence in the character 
of that paternal Government of which they had 
heard so much — a Government, whose parental in- 
stincts were now manifesting themselves in a frantic 
eagerness to clutch the perquisites of office, and to 
divide the spolia opima of Indian patronage among 
themselves ? 

But although the events to the recital of which 
this chapter has been devoted are those, for the most 



part, which constitute the historical importance of 
Mr. Tucker’s first Chairmanship, they are hut mere 
accidental protuberances, which by no means repre- 
sent the formal reality of Chairman-life in Leaden- 
hall-street, Very different, indeed, was the daily 
work in which Mr. Tucker was at this time engaged. 
“ My time,” he wrote to Sir Charles Metcalfe, “ has 
been chiefly occupied with the question of compen- 
sation to our maritime service — the reorganisation 
of our establishments — the warehousing and ma- 
naging private goods — and other commercial mat- 
ters quite alien to the business of adm in istering to 
the affairs of India, and by the time these trouble- 
some questions are well settled I shall be leaving 
the Directorship. So we go on.” In other words, 
lie was superintending the obsequies of the Trade ; 
seeing that its remains were decently laid out, and 
that its interment was ceremoniously performed. 
He was Undertaker and Executor too at the same 
time. The assets of the dear departed were to be 
realised. The estate was to be wound up. All this 
demanded the exercise of no small amount of in- 
dustry — no small amount of ability; but it will 
hardly be a subject of complaint that it is not dwelt 
upon here more in detail. 

But the record of this period of Mr. Tucker’s 
life would be imperfect, if I did not touch upon an 
incident, connected with his Chairmanship, which 
has a fine characteristic flavor about it. He was 
invited to dine at the King’s table, where, after din- 
ner, William was pleased to drink to the prosperity 

2 h 2 



of the East India Company. I believe that it is 
not the etiquette of the Court on these occasions for 
the royal guests to make “ speeches but, either 
unacquainted with the observances of these royal 
entertainments, or believing that the custom of 
silent , acknowledgment was more honored in the 
breach, he thus responded to his Majesty’s address : 

“ Sire, — I beg to offer your Majesty my dutiful and respect- 
ful acknowledgments for the compliment paid by your Majesty 
to the East India Company, whose representative I have the 
honor to be on the present occasion. 

u As a very humble individual, I would willingly avoid public 
observation; but in the performance of every public duty I 
have endeavored always to forget, as far as possible, my own 
personal identity. Your Majesty has been pleased to draw me 
from my shell. And the just observations which your Majesty 
has made, upon the effect of the social institutions of this 
country, are strongly illustrated in my own person ; for in the 
presence of my Sovereign stands a quondam sailor-boy — 
friendless, and half-educated — but now the representative of a 
public Body, whose deeds have cast a lustre over the brightest 
pages of English history. 

“ Sire, — Your Majesty’s Councils and the wisdom of the Le- 
gislature have lately introduced great and important changes 
into the constitution of that Body. While this difficult and 
complicated question was under consideration, my colleagues 
and myself strenuously and vehemently opposed the projected 
change. We did so upon principle, upon a strong conviction 
that the proposed change of system would compromise the 
national interests. But now that the decision has been finally 
passed, it has become our duty as good citizens, as loyal sub- 
jects, and as honorable men, to render the new system as 
efficient as possible, and to extract from it the utmost good of 
which it may be susceptible. 

“ But while, Sire, we cordially embrace, and promise to 


cherish, the new Bride which has been presented to us, may 
I be permitted, without presumption and without offence, to 
pay one last tribute of regard to the object of my early 
affections — the late East India Company. By an extraordinary 
union of bold councils and daring enterprise in the field, that 
singularly constituted Body succeeded in adding a whole region, 
teeming with countless multitudes of industrious and # faithful 
subjects, to the Empire of Great Britain. Fostered, protected, 
and encouraged by your Majesty’s illustrious father, that Com- 
pany placed in the British Crown its most precious jewel. 
And may ‘ He that wears the Crown immortally’ long preserve 
the peerless gem in your Majesty’s Crown, and long may your 
Majesty and your royal House continue to wear that Crown, 
for the well-being of these realms, and for the happiness and 
prosperity of the people of India, whose destinies are now bound 
up in the fate of the British Empire.” 

There was a manliness — a sincerity in this that 
must have pleased the Sovereign far better than 
courtly words, or even more courtly silence. 




Mr. Tucker’s Private Correspondence— Letters to Mr. Blunt — Mr. Charles 
Grant — Mountstuart Elphinstone — Lord William Bentinck — Sir Charles 
Metcalfe and Others. 

Ekom the Correspondence of Mr. Tucker, during his 
tenure of office, I have made some selections, for the 
most part in illustration of subjects touched on in 
the preceding chapter. They tell, with sufficient 
distinctness, their own story ; and call for no further 
comment : 


[On the Changes in the Constitution of the Company under the New Charter- 


“East India House, May, 1834. 

lt My dear Blunt, — I have been favored with your two 
letters dated the end of December; and I was much gratified 
to find both you and my friend, Sir C. Metcalfe, concurring so 
generally in the views which I had taken of our proper line of 
policy in the course of discussing the Charter question. It is 
much to be regretted that we, the Court, did not adopt a more 
decided course at an earlier period; for, in that case, a modi- 
fication of the new system might, I think, have been effected, 
or, at all events, time would have been obtained for its more 
gradual introduction. All parties seem to me now to feel that 
the changes have been pushed forward with unnecessary and 
injudicious precipitancy; but we cannot retrace our steps now 
that the old machinery has been nearly broken up. What I 



most dread, is the unchecked resort of Europeans to India, and 
their location upon the land. This may lead to much injustice 
and oppression to the natives, and to a fearful struggle at some 
future period; but I used my utmost efforts, to no purpose, to 
prevent the measure. I succeeded better with the slavery 
question; and it will be the fault of the legislative Govern- 
ment if any imprudent step be taken with relation to this 
object. Mr. Grant was urged on by a strong popular*feeling; 
but we checked it here successfully. We have just now, on 
the table of the Court, a long letter, giving an outline of the 
Plan which we think should be adopted for framing your new 
constitution, and for the exercise of your legislative functions; 
and I hope to be able to despatch it in the course of a month, 
although these despatches go through a very operose process. 
We proceed, however, very cordially and comfortably with the 
Board; and in less than three months I hope to have every 
letter from India answered, to the end of 1833. We are about 
to put forth here a Transfer loan, for the admission of the 
six-per-cent, remittable loan; and if it succeed, a great ad- 
vantage will have been obtained for the Company; but I took 
an objection in limine to the project. I do not like the idea of 
our financiering for India in this country, to the exclusion of 
the local Government and the local officers, who ought to be 
responsible for all such measures. 

“ With every good wish for your health and happiness, 
Believe me, very sincerely yours, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 


[On the Appointment of Mr. Robert Grant to the Governorship of Bombay.] 

“ East India House, 26th May, 1834. 

“ My dear Sir, — I have been favored with your note of 
yesterday; and it is unnecessary for me, I think, to say that I 
entertain the highest opinion of Mr. R. Grant’s talents, and of 
his qualification for a high public station. I do not, therefore, 
hesitate in mentioning to you that I shall feel perfectly justi- 



lied in proposing him for the Government of Bombay, and that 
I shall feel personal satisfaction in doing so. 

“We have a Committee to-day; but I do not intend to con- 
sult my colleagues on the appointment until I have the plea- 
sure of seeing you. I anticipate only two objections on their 
part — the one, that 1 lawyers do not often make the best 
statesmen the other, that, connected as your brother will be 
with the Board, the Court may not be able to exercise the 
same efficient control over his proceedings. The first objec- 
tion, I think, applies only to those who, from habit, have 
bound down their minds to the technicalities of the profession. 
On the second, I may observe, that the Court will never, 
I trust, find any difficulty in exerting all its legal powers. 

“ On the first open day I shall have the pleasure of calling 
upon you, when we may confer on the proper time for bring- 
ing forward the nomination, and other particulars. 
u Believe me, my dear Sir, 

“ Very sincerely, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ Right Hon. Charles Grant, &c., &c. 

U P.S. — I have detained this note until the arrival of the 
Deputy, as I wished to show it to him.” 


[On the Oude Despatches — Military Rank in the Queen’s and Company’s 
Services — The Resort of Natives to England, &c., &c.] 

“ East India House, 19th July, 1834. 

“ My Lord, — I was glad to hear that your Lordship had left 
Madras for Bangalore in perfect health ; and I hope that we 
shall soon receive a report of your operations in Mysore — that 
they will all be successful — and that the necessity for any mili- 
tary operations against the Coorg Rajah will have been averted 
by his submission. 

“ We have at length passed and despatched the Oude letter, 
which has been so long upon the anvil, and which has pro- 
duced so much difference of opinion among us. The authority, 
to take the last decisive step, is given up, on the assumption of 



an extreme necessity, of which your Lordship is constituted 
the judge. The question has been now for two years before the 
Court and the Board; and it appeared to the late Chairman 
and. myself, not only an act of justice to your Lordship, but a 
measure of positive duty, to put an end to this state of suspense, 
and to give, at least, conditional, if not peremptory, orders. I 
feel myself the utmost repugnance to any proceeding which can 
involve the violation or infringement of a treaty, and I am not 
disposed to admit very easily considerations of expediency; but 
in the present case we seem scarcely to have a choice. Some- 
thing must be done; and the only question is, whether the 
exigency is such as to justify the last extreme measure. 

“Wc have had a great deal of discussion on the question 
relating to the rank of colonel, the supply of general officers 
for the station commands, &c. A voluminous correspondence 
has taken place ; many professional opinions have been obtained 
by Mr. Grant; and I submitted the whole to the Duke of 
Wellington, whom I was anxious to enlist on ounside, both as 
the highest military authority, and as the proper expounder of 
the Regulations of 1828, which were framed under his autho- 
rity. His Grace has written a very able paper on the subject; 
but I fear that we shall not succeed in obtaining what we have 
been contending for. The question will, however, I trust, be 
soon brought to a decision; and I shall lose no time in com- 
municating to your Lordship the result. 

“ Mr. R. Grant, the new Governor of Bombay, embarks in 
the Buckinghamshire on the 1st Sept., and will probably reach 
his destination by the end of the year. Mr. Cameron, our new 
Law Commissioner, will accompany him, and probably land at 
Point de Galle. Our proposed despatch on the constitution of 
the Indian Government, the exercise of its legislative functions, 
&c., &c., is still before the Board; but I hope that we shall be 
able to launch it off without much further delay* 

“ The steam question has been for some time before a Com- 

* This is the despatch to the Supreme Government of India, dated Decem- 
ber, 1834, containing the views of the Court with respect to the interpretation 
of the new Charter— a very masterly state-paper. 



mittee of tlie House of Commons, who propose, I understand, 
that we should undertake experimental operations on a joint 
account with the King’s Government. I am not, I own, quite 
so sanguine as many others appear to be, both here and in 
India, with respect to the success of the plans which have been 
proposed; although I quite concur in the importance of the 
object. I would not annihilate both time and space, but I 
would gladly accelerate the communication between India and 
England, and so far virtually approximate the two countries. 

“ Wc are beginning to be very much tormented by natives 
resorting to this country, to prefer most extravagant claims, and 
to obtain redress for all manner of grievances; and it is very 
difficult to deal with them here. We have at this moment in 
the House one of these persons, in custody of one of his Ma- 
jesty’s attendants at Windsor, he having threatened to throw 
himself under the King’s carriage. Others threaten to sit 
dhurna upon us, in order that we may restore to one — his 
wife, to another — lands claimed as Jaghir (although never pos- 
sessed), under a sunnud from Aulumjeer ; and a third, to be 
restored to your Lordship’s body-guard, &c., &c. All this will 
be very embarrassing by-and-by; because the feelings in this 
country are such that we cannot proceed in a summary manner 
with such parties, although we have every reason to believe that 
they are not entitled to a moment’s attention. 

“ With every good wish for your Lordship’s health, and the 
success of your administration, 

“ I have, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 


[On tbe Succession to the Governor- Generalship.] 

“ East India House, 28th August, 1834. 
u My dear Sir, — L ord W. Bentinck, as you perhaps may 
have heard, has sent in his resignation ; and I shall be called 
upon, at an early period, to propose a successor. My choice 
would rest between Sir C. Metcalfe and yourself ; and I shall 
be ready to place in nomination either, giving a preference only 



to the one, who may be most acceptable to the Court and 
the King’s Government That Government may have other 
views; but I will not lend myself to any project which I can* 
not cordially concur in, and justify. Others must move, if I 
am not allowed to do what I think right. What I would re- 
quest is, that you would say whether, in the event of my 
having reason to believe that you would be the choice of the 
Court and the Board, you would be prepared to undertake 
this important trust. I ask particularly with reference to your 
health; for if that should oppose an objection, I should proceed 
no further. 

u Believe me, with great esteem, 

u Very sincerely yours, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ Hon. Monntstuart Elphinstone.” 


[On the Succession to the Governor-Generalship.] 

“East India House, 4th Sept., 1834. 

My dear Sir, — I have been anxiously occupied, as you 
will easily believe, in the consideration of the steps which it 
will be necessary or expedient to adopt, in consequence of the 
resignation of Lord Wm. Bentinck ; and I have summoned a 
special Court for Wednesday next, in order that I may have 
an opportunity of consulting my colleagues on the subject. I 
have already conferred with many of them individually; and 
by far the greater number cordially incline to the arrangement 
which I shall feel it my duty to propose to the Court, and to 
submit to you, for the consideration of his Majesty’s Govern- 

“ It is — to confirm Sir Charles Metcalfe in the office of 
Governor-General of India. 

“ Of his superior talents, and of his high qualification for an 
important public trust, he has afforded, I think, abundant 
evidence, during a long and a very distinguished course of 
public service ; and at the present period, when there is so 
much to arrange — so much crude matter to reduce into form, 
it appears to me highly essential that we should command the 



services of one who, to great knowledge and experience, adds 
energy of character and an uncompromising rectitude — one, 
in short, tried, and known to the public, and in whom the 
public would place the utmost confidence. 

u Should the Court make choice of Sir Charles Metcalfe for 
the office of Governor-General, and should the selection meet 
with the approbation of his Majesty’s Government, it will 
become necessary to adopt some subsidiary arrangements. 

“ Without, however, proceeding to these before the main 
question has been decided, upon which, in fact, they will hinge, 
I may be allowed to offer it as my individual opinion that it 
will be advisable to give the new Governor of Agra (whoever 
he may be) the aid of a Council; and that it will be more con- 
venient to assign the new Commander-in-Chief a seat in that 
Council, than one in the Legislative Council of India. At 
Agra he will be in the very centre of the army ; and will be in 
a situation to exercise an efficient military control, while per- 
forming his civil duties. I was always disposed to think that 
a Council would, sooner or later, become necessary, or at least 
be found useful; although it appeared to me that it might be, 
for a time, dispensed with, while the administration remained 
in the hands of Sir C. Metcalfe. 

I have merely thrown out these suggestions, with a view 
to call your attention to the subject generally; but I shall be 
ready to enter into a more particular examination of these and 
other points whenever you may be prepared to take up the 
question, and to confer with the Deputy and myself upon its 
different branches. 

“ I have the honor to be, my dear Sir, &c., &c., 

“H. St.G. Tucker. 

u I beg to annex for your information a copy of the pro- 
posed Resolution, on which I intend to take the opinion of my 
colleagues on Wednesday: 

“ * That this Court deeply laments that the state of Lord 
Wm. Bentinck’s health should be such as to deprive the Com- 
pany of his valuable services at a period of great difficulty; and 
the Court desires to record its grateful sense of the distinguished 



zeal, energy, ability, and high honor, with which his Lordship 
has discharged the arduous and important duties of his exalted 

“ ‘ That — referring to the appointment, which has been con- 
ferred by the Court, with the approbation of his Majesty, on 
Sir C. Metcalfe, provisionally to succeed as Governor-General, 
upon the death, resignation, or coming away of Lord Wm. 
Bentinck — this Court is of opinion that is unnecessary, and, in 
view to the measures now in progress, that it would be incon- 
venient and inexpedient at present to make any other ar- 
rangement for supplying that office; and that the Chairs be 
authorised and requested to communicate this opinion to his 
Majesty, through the President of the Board of Commissioners 
for the Affairs of India.’ ” 


[On the Danish Settlements.] 

“East India House, 16th Sept., 1834. 

“ My dear Sir, — I have been favored with your note of 
the 13th instant, enclosing a paper of suggestions signed 

“It cannot be doubted, I think, that in negotiating the 
general peace, our Ministers committed a great oversight in not 
retaining all the possessions and factories of France, Holland, 
Denmark, and Portugal, on the continent of India. The 
cession was gratuitous on our part : these possessions were of 
no real value to the parties to whom they were restored, while 
they were of great value to us, as excluding a nuisance. 

“ But the Danish settlements are of less inconvenience to us 
than those of any other European power; for the Danes are a 
quiet, unambitious, commercial people. They formerly ex- 
ported considerable quantities of piece-goods from Serampore 
and the coast ; but this trade has, I believe, almost entirely 

“The inconvenience and disadvantages which we experi- 
ence from the European establishments on the continent of 
India, may be stated as follows, viz. : 

“ 1st. In preventing our Government from levying the 
duties of customs on the whole of the import and export trade. 



“ 2nd. In compelling us to make compensation for requiring 
them to forego the right to trade in salt and opium, to the 
prejudice of our monopoly. 

“ 3rd. In affording an asylum to persons escaping from their 
creditors, or from the hands of justice. 

“ 4th. In harbouring persons disaffected to our Government, 
and in affording facilities for the establishment of a malignant 
press. Upon these, and other considerations perhaps, it would 
certainly be desirable to obtain the surrender of any of the 
foreign settlements and factories, which we may have oppor- 
tunity of obtaining ; but anything may be purchased too dear, 
and the cession would resolve itself into a question of terms or 

“ The proposed exchange of one or more of our West India 
islands, I presume to be quite out of the question. We cannot 
make over British subjects in this manner to a foreign power ; 
although interchanges are sometimes made at a general peace 
by the cession of actual conquests. 

“ What the money value of Tranquebar may be, I am not 
prepared to say ; but the value of Serampore to us would not 
be great, I apprehend, at present. To the Danes it must, I 
think, be an incumbrance ; and if they would surrender the 
settlement for the value of the public buildings, and other 
fixed property, to be taken at a fair valuation, both parties 
would, I imagine, be gainers. Their trade with Bengal might 
be guaranteed at the duties chargeable to the most favored 

“ As the suggestion which has been offered to you docs not 
seem to have proceeded from any functionary of the Danish 
Government, and as I do not know whether your colleagues 
in the Foreign or Colonial Departments have taken up the 
question, I have confined my remarks to a few general points ; 
but if the proposition should be seriously entertained by his 
Majesty’s Government, it will be my duty, and my wish, to 
afford every information in my power, with a view to promote 
a satisfactory arrangement. 

“ Believe me, my dear Sir, 

“ Very sincerely yours, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 




[On the Succession to the Governor-Generalship.] 

“ East India House, 22nd Sept., 1834 

“ My dear Sir, — In our conference on Tuesday last, you 
gave us reason to suppose that we should be honored with an 
invitation from Lord Melbourne to a personal interview in the 
course of the week; but as I have not been favored with any 
communication from his Lordship, and as I stand pledged to 
my colleagues to bring under their consideration, on Friday 
next, the present state of the Indian Government, I can no 
longer delay to solicit through you an intimation of the views 
of his Majesty’s Government with respect to the appointment 
of a successor to Lord William Bentinck. 

44 I have already communicated to you, and to the Court, 
the proposition which I intend to bring forward, for confirming 
Sir C. Metcalfe in the station of Governor-General, for such 
time as may be found necessary to enable him to carry into 
execution the important arrangements consequent upon the 
new Charter- Act ; and I continue decidedly of opinion that 
this will be the most convenient proceeding which could be 
adopted. Still, it will be my duty and my wish to place before 
my colleagues the views of his Majesty’s Ministers, if they 
should be prepared to offer an alternative to the Court. 

44 The communication which I have had with you on the 
subject, hitherto, having been confidential, I have not felt 
myself at liberty to enter into any explanations officially ; but 
when the question is formally brought forward, the Court will, 
I think, expect from me every information which can assist 
their deliberations, in appointing a successor to Lord William 

44 1 need not point out to you the necessity for an early 
decision. When our last advices came away, the Indian Go- 
vernment was evidently in an inefficient and unsatisfactory 
state. Strictly speaking, there was no legal administration in 
the two Presidencies of Bengal; and if any political occur- 
rences, calling for prompt measures, should take place on our 
western frontier, it appears to me that the utmost inconvenience 
was to be apprehended from the absence of the principal au- 



thorities, civil and military, at so great a distance from the seat 
of the Supreme Government. 

u I have had but little time yet to reflect on the minutes of 
Lord William Bentinck, which you were so good as to send 
for my perusal ; but if I wanted an argument in favor of the 
appointment of Sir C. Metcalfe, these documents would furnish 
it. I feel persuaded that Sir Charles is almost the only indi- 
vidual capable of extricating us from the difficulties which the 
proposed reduction of the Indian army will, I apprehend, pro- 
duce. Let me beg you to refer to his masterly minute of the 
22nd January, 1831, on the proposition of the Finance Com- 
mittee to reduce the army; and although I have not the pre- 
sumption to pronounce a judgment on a question of military 
reform, I must think that if such a delicate, such a difficult 
operation is to be undertaken, it cannot be entrusted to any 
hands so safely as to those of Sir Charles Metcalfe, who has 
always been popular with the army, and whose prudence and 
firmness will give him a peculiar advantage in conducting any 
measure of difficulty. 

“ I shall not refer in this place to the subordinate arrange- 
ments which will become necessary ; because these will depend, 
in some measure, on the selection which may be made for the 
station of Governor- General; but I would observe that the 
question of .appointing a Council to Agra, to which I have 
called your attention, will require an early decision. I have 
already submitted to you my own opinion on the question ; and 
it is unnecessary, therefore, to trouble you with any further 
remarks on the subject. 

tc I have the honor to be, &e., &c., 

“ II. St.G. Tucker.” 


[On the Appointment of a Governor-General.] 

“ East India House, 16th October, 1834. 

u My dear Sir, — I was favored with your note of yester- 
day, which I had an opportunity of submitting to one of our 

“ It has always been my earnest wish to act in concert with 



you, and in concord with his Majesty’s Government; but I 
have a paramount duty to perform towards the Court, and I 
must upon the present occasion act upon my sense of that 

“ The delay of a few days may appear of small moment; 
but, after the declaration made by you, in the course of our 
conference on Tuesday, that his Majesty’s Ministers, in conse- 
quence of the Court’s resolution of the 26th ultimo, proposing 
to continue Sir C. Metcalfe in the station of Governor-General, 
no longer considered themselves pledged to abstain from making 
an appointment under the 60th section of the Charter-Act, the 
delay of a few days may involve the question of the forfeiture 
of one of the most important rights of the Court. If I have 
misunderstood you, it is easy to set me right; and if I have an 
assurance from you that the King’s Government do not mean 
to avail themselves of any delay on our part, for the purpose of 
taking the appointment into their own hands — then it will be 
no longer necessary for me to bring forward the question to- 
morrow", as I now propose to do. 

“ In explanation (and, if you please, in justification) of my 
proceeding, let me beg to call to your recollection the following 
circumstances : 

“ 1st. That the tender of the resignation of Lord W. Ben- 
tinck has been known to yourself, and his Majesty’s Ministers, 
for at least seven weeks. 

“ 2nd. That only two calendar months are allowed the Court 
of Directors to fill up a vacancy. 

“ 3rd. That you yourself, in your letter to the Chairs of the 
1st instant (sixteen days ago), intimated to the Court the de- 
cided opinion of his Majesty’s Ministers that ‘ in reference to 
the present state of India, no time should he lost in appointing a 
permanent successor to Lord Wm. Bentinck, as Governor- 
General of India/ 

“ Lastly. Let me beg to remind you that, if any lapse take 
place on the part of the Court of Directors, and the appoint- 
ment to the office of Governor-General devolve, in consequence, 
upon the King’s Government, the constitution of the Indian 
Government is virtually changed. The Court of Directors can 

2 i 



no longer recall or remove a Governor-General so appointed, 
and, consequently, can no longer exercise the same efficient 
control over that high functionary, who is already invested 
with such extensive powers. 

44 Let me add that, at our two last interviews, I asked you 
expressly if you were prepared to enter upon the question. 
You stated that you were not prepared; and acting, as I have 
always done, with the utmost consideration towards you, I did 
not press you further, although I myself was perfectly prepared 
to submit my views to you, and to receive an intimation of the 
views and wishes of her Majesty’s Government. 

44 The foregoing explanation will, I trust, satisfy you that I 
am not acting unreasonably in declining to accede to a further 
delay in bringing forward the name of a successor to Lord 
William Bentinck. I must give a week’s notice to the Court, 
as I have already stated to you ; and although I believe the law 
will give us more time, under the legal opinion which I have 
obtained, it is impossible for me, in a matter of such import- 
ance, to run any risk. I could not do so without bringing the 
rights of the Court into question, nor without subjecting my 
own conduct to just animadversion. 

44 1 have the honor to be, my dear Sir, 

44 Your faithful servant, 

44 H. St.G. Tucker. 

44 If you would wish to see us, the Deputy and myself will be 
happy to wait upon you, either this evening or early to-morrow, 
when I can explain to you my intended course of proceeding.” 

44 TO , ESQ. 

[On the Distribution of Patronage.] 

“ East India House, 22nd December, 1834. 

4 4 My dear Sir — I have been favored with your note of 
Saturday, and I regret very much that it is not in my power 
(circumstanced as I am) to comply with your request for a 
cadetcy for your young friend. 

, 44 The Court scarcely ever grant nominations to their service 

as a body . I only recollect one instance (that of Sir D. Ochter- 


long) where they have deviated from their general rule or 
usage; and the reason for this rule is obvious. We should have 

O ' 

innumerable applications, with which it would be impossible to 
comply; and we should be compelled to make very invidious 

“ With respect to myself, I determined some time since to 
apply my extra patronage, as Chairman, to public objects, i. e. 
to provide for the sons and relations of meritorious officers of 
his Majesty’s and our own service; and I have given effect to 
this determination in the manner which appeared to me best 
calculated to accomplish the end which I had in view. 

“ Believe me, dear Sir, 

“ Very faithfully yours, 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 

To the above letters may be advantageously ap- 
pended two or three of a later date, in order that 
the narrative continuity of the next chapter may 
not be broken by their insertion : 


[On the Authorities of the Board of Control and Court of Directors.] 

“ September 27th, 1838. 

“ My Lord Duke, — I have had the honor to receive your 
Graced favor of the 14th inst., and I beg to offer my best acknow- 
ledgments for the communication. Your Grace’s remarks tended 
greatly to fortify me in the opinion which I had previously 
formed on the question, and enabled me to maintain that 
opinion with greater confidence. 

“ I have the satisfaction to state that the proposition for 
sending out the Irish Roman Catholic priests to India at the 
public expense, has been negatived by a large majority of the 
Court ; but as this attempt has been repeatedly made under 
the auspices of the present Government, I am not without 
apprehension that it may be renewed, and that sooner or later 
it may be successful. 

“ Your Grace seems to consider that the administration of 

2 I 2 



India is now vested in the National Government. This is very 
much the case, no doubt ; but although the Legislature, by the 
late Charter- Act, has stripped the Court of Directors of sub- 
stantial power, we are still left in a position to exert some 
moral influence with effect. 

“In all our foreign relations and political concerns, the 
Board can act independently of the Court, through the Secret 
Committee ; and here we have no voice whatever, nor are we 
even cognisant of the Board’s proceedings. 

The Board have, moreover, a general and absolute restrain- 
ing power; but they cannot propel us forwards , if we choose to 
resist. Our vis-inertiae alone is sometimes sufficient to arrest 
their proceedings. The present Government have on more 
than one occasion resorted to a high judicial tribunal for the 
purpose of coercing us by a Mandamus ; but they signally 
failed. On a late occasion they ordered us to dismiss all the 
Judges of our Court of Sudder Dewanny Adawlut (the head 
Court of Appeal in Bengal) — we refused — they threatened to 
dismiss them by their own authority — they were told that this 
could only be done by a mandate of recall under the Sign 
Manual ; but they were not prepared to undertake such a re- 
sponsibility, and the case was closed by a peevish censure. 

“ The Court of Directors still, by law, retain the initiative; 
and although, by the connivance of their organs, this privilege 
may be rendered of no avail, it has heretofore been asserted 
with very salutary effect. We are also at liberty to protest, 
and to expose to public view instances of mal-administration ; 
so that, as long as the Court shall be filled by independent and 
honorable men, they may not only, by their knowledge and 
experience, assist in giving a proper direction to the machine of 
Government, but they can also exert a wholesome influence in 
checking the career of an unscrupulous Government. Had this 
not been the case, we should have had at the present moment 
an establishment of Irish Roman Catholic priests as an appen- 
dage to our Indian army. 

“ Still, I feel most painfully that we are gradually sinking. 
Our weight and influence have declined of late, and are de- 
clining; and among the other evils of the time, I look forward 



with anxiety and apprehension to the future condition of India. 
It maybe preserved for a longer or a shorter period; but I 
doubt whether it will be long preserved in a condition to be of 
real value to the mother country. Religious fanaticism, which 
is not discouraged by the present Government, has already 
done much to alienate the attachment of the people, to shake 
their confidence, and to produce uneasiness and alarm. # 

“ I scarcely need mention that I did not make use of your 
Grace’s letter with my colleagues, although I believe that it 
would have had the effect of bringing our debate to an early 

“ I have the honor to be, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 

“ to . 

[On the Education of the Civil Service.] 

“ East India House, 17 th Aug., 1844. 

“ My dear , — It would be great presumption in me to 

oppose the professional opinion of so eminent a scholar as Pro- 
fessor Wilson, when I am no scholar at all; but I have on more 
than one occasion ventured to place on record my opinions 
with respect to Haileybury, and I have seen no reason to re- 
tract those opinions. In establishing that College, our objects, 
I apprehend, were threefold : 

“ 1st. To complete a liberal education, such as young men 
receive at our Universities. 

“ 2ndly. To give our civil servants an elementary knowledge 
of the Oriental languages, in order to facilitate the acquisition 
of those languages on their arrival in India. And, 

“ 3rdly. To obtain an assurance of moral character and con- 
duct, and of that industry and application which are essential to 
insure habits of business. This last has always been with me an 
object of paramount consideration. 

“With respect to European languages and literature, I should 
say that we attempt too much. At seventeen or eighteen a 
young man ought to know enough of Latin and Greek; and I 
should be disposed to dispense with those languages in the two 



last terms, or to make the study of them optional. It may be 
doubted whether French, Italian, or German, might not be 
substituted with advantage; but I have no wish to engage in a 
controversy on this question, which, perhaps, in due season will 
be decided by the railroad, calculated as it is to mix together 
the nations of Europe. 

“ But the Oriental branch of the question is that which wc 
have to deal with at present, and I have no hesitation in 
repeating my opinion that the study of three Oriental lan- 
guages, in addition to the other studies which are imposed upon 
our young men, cannot be prosecuted with advantage. 

“ Professor Wilson’s argument is, that the acquisition of the 
primitive language facilitates the acquisition of the derivative 
language — that when Sanscrit is acquired, the acquisition of 
Bengali, &c., is easy. This is quite true; and the argument 
might be applied to the acquisition of Arabic as a means of 
facilitating the acquisition of the Persian. But is the process 
necessary ? I think not; and I will state a case in point. 

” I was stationed for about two years in a Bengali district 
(Rajeshahy), and with the aid of Halhed’s little grammar 1 
learnt enough in about three months, I think, to be able to 
transact public business with the people. Now, had I com- 
menced with Sanscrit, I should have quitted the district before 
I reached its derivative, the Bengali, although the latter was 
really what 1 required. The best speaker of Bengali whom I 

met with was a Dr. M (an age ago), and he knew nothing 

of Sanscrit; and the best speaker of Hindustani whom I met 
with (also an age ago), was an ill-educated Irishman, who had 
never, probably, looked at a grammar in the course of his life. 

He, like Mr. B , acquired the language in the Zenana, and 

the natives admitted that he spoke the language so correctly 
that they could not detect the European. He acquired it 
entirely by the ear. 

“ Sir William Jones, on the other hand, although a Sanscrit 
and a Persian scholar, could not hold the most common con- 
versation either in Bengali or Hindustani; so that we have 
here the primitive languages without their leading to the 
derivatives. Nor do I believe that a single instance can be 


adduced of one of our Haileybury students being able to carry 
on a dialogue, either in Hindustani or Persian. This was not 
the case in the Calcutta College some forty years ago. 

“ Persian is fast disappearing in our Bengal provinces, to 
which my remarks are confined; and in the course of a few 
years it will be of no use for any practical purposes of business. 
With the Hindustani, neither our civil nor military servants 
need ever be at a loss in the districts under the Bengal and 
Agra Presidencies. 

“ What I would deduce from these premises is, that we 
attempt too much, both in the European and Oriental branches 
of study; that two Oriental languages are as much as can be 
well attended to; and that even one (the Hindustani), if pro- 
perly cultivated, would be sufficient; and that the study of 
Sanscrit, Arabic, and even Persian, might be left optional with 
the student. I adhere to my opinion that sixteen is the best 
age for entering Haileybury — that the student should be 
allowed to quit it and enter the service as soon as he is re- 
ported to be duly qualified, even after the expiration of his 
second term — and that the acquisition of the native languages 
should be remitted mainly to India , where more will be accom- 
plished in six months, after a little elementary preparation 
here, than can be effected by a two years’ residence at 

“ Believe me, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 


[On the Settlement of Bundlekund.*] 

“ • . . . If you should have taken charge of your Go- 

vernment of Agra, your attention will, I am sure, be directed 
immediately to the state of Bundlekund. I have instructed our 
secretary to take up the subject here as soon as possible ; but 
what can we do here? .... 

* This is an extract from a letter written in 1834 , and accidentally omitted 
from the earlier part of the chapter. 


life of h. st.g. tucker. 

“ When I visiled the province, it seemed to be prosperous, 
although not particularly well managed by the Lucknow 
Tchsildars, whom Baillie had introduced or recommended; but 
the villagers (I am tired of the term Ryot) appeared comfort- 
able, and I have never seen in any part of the country such 
magnificent wells. There was a good deal of bishy (or surplus) 
and alienated land, which enabled the people to pay a high as- 
sessment; but when the late Mr. Scott Waring brought this 
land upon the rental, and taxed it, the same high rate of assess- 
ment could not be paid, and the province has rapidly declined. 
This is a mistake which we often make. It does not follow that 

by detecting alienations we can augment the revenue 

“ I cannot change the opinion of men, nor can I venture to 
overturn a favorite system when in office only for a few months. 
It would be presumptuous and dangerous for me to attempt to 
move; but you on the spot have a heavy responsibility. The 
country ought not to be allowed to go to ruin. What I wish 
to see is, the demand of Government limited and fixed. The 
party with whom the settlement is to be concluded is matter of 
inferior consideration. I prefer moderate estates, say from 200 
to 2000 rupees annual revenue; but I would not manufacture 
estates, as my excellent friend Sir G. Barlow attempted to do 
at Madras. Let them grow, as they will do if you do not crush 
them. What I should like to see would be, the grant of Mo- 
kurrery tenures when estates have been well ascertained, where 
they are in full cultivation, and where the assessment has been 
made by trustworthy officers. If a beginning were once made 
in this way, we should get on rapidly ; but what have we accom- 
plished in the last twenty years? Of late, we seem to be retro- 
grading. My friend, Sir H. Strachey, has often reproached 
me for not having undertaken to form a Permanent Settlement 
in 1807 ; and if we do not manage better than we have done 
lately, I shall begin to reproach myself. There are various other 
questions to which I should like to call your attention ; but I 
have little leisure for correspondence ” 




The War in Afghanistan— Our Relations with the Persian Court — Resistance 
of Russia an European Question — The Tripartite Treaty — Mr. Tucker’s 
Letters to the Duke of Wellington and Others — Ilis Opinions on the 
Afghan War and the Conquest of Scinde — Recall of Lord Ellenborough. 

The narrative portion of the penultimate chapter 
closed with the appointment of Lord Auckland to 
the Governor-Generalship of India. The chapter 
upon which I am now entering is to he devoted to 
the consideration of the policy pursued towards the 
states beyond the Indus during his and his succes- 
sor’s administration; and the part taken by Mr. 
Tucker in the resistance of measures which he 
believed to he both impolitic and unjust. I cannot 
take upon myself to say that if Lord Heytesbury’s 
appointment had not been reversed, this chapter 
would not have been commenced ; hut I have a very 
strong conviction, based upon the recorded senti- 
ments of Sir Charles Metcalfe, that if the Indian 
Civilian instead of the English Peer had been ap- 
pointed to the Governor- Generalship, we should 
have heard nothing of the wars in Afghanistan and 



Whilst Mr. Tucker was yet in the Chair, the sub- 
jects of our relations with Persia and of the opening 
of the Indus, for purposes, as it was said, of naviga- 
tion and trade, had been brought prominently before 
him. He seems to have seen through them both at 
a glajice. It was his conviction, in 1834, that the 
Persian alliance was an European question with 
which the Indian Government ought not to meddle; 
and that inasmuch as Commercial agencies were 
prone to develope themselves, with extraordinary 
rapidity, into Political agencies, the less we con- 
cerned ourselves about the commerce of the Indus, 
the better it would be for the prosperity of India 
and the character of the British nation. 

I am fortunately able to narrate in his own words 
the consistent course which Mr. Tucker pursued with 
reference to our Central- Asian policy, from the very 
commencement of those unhappy operations which 
terminated in a sea of disaster and disgrace. “ I had 
various personal conferences with the Indian Minis- 
ter throughout 1834-35,” he wrote in an interesting 
retrospect which he drew up in 1842, “ when I held 
the station of Chairman; and in all these conferences 
regarding the state of Persia and its relations with 
Great Britain, I invariably maintained that it was 
impossible to operate upon Persia with any effect 
from India , whilst that Power was countenanced 
and supported by Russia; and that the national 
force must be applied m Europe, if it should become 
necessary to counteract or to arrest the proceedings 



of Russia in any of the Asiatic states. The notes 
of my conferences with his Majesty’s Ministers I 
have kept as a sealed book ; for I regarded them 
always (at least for the time) as confidential on both 
sides. The obligation of secresy may, however, be 
considered to cease when questions have been finally 
settled ; when the facts have become publicly known 
through other channels, and when a disclosure can 
neither prove injurious to the public interests, nor 
hurtful to private feelings.” 

From these memoranda it appears that on the 
7th of June, 1834, Mr. Tucker explained at great 
length (to the President of the Board of Control) 
the critical state of affairs in Persia — and urged that 
no measures, offensive or defensive, could be taken 
in India — and that the whole question should be 
taken up by the British Cabinet. On the 23rd of 
June and the 1st of July he reiterated these 
opinions. On the 22nd of the latter month, advert- 
ing to letters received from the Persian Envoy, Mr. 
Tucker strongly objected to his proposition to pay 
the demand of Russia (250,000/.*), and referred to a 
letter, which he had written to the Board, explain- 
ing the grounds of these objections and his views 
of the policy to be observed in Persia. “ It is 
become,” he again emphatically said, “ a European 

* It was proposed that the British Government should enable Mahomed 
Meerza to satisfy the pecuniary claims of Russia, in order that we might “ take 
from that Power all pretence for occupying the province of Ghilan, for de- 
manding a cession of territory, and for interfering directly in the appoint- 
ment of a successor to the throne.” 



question.” In the letter to which he alluded on 
this occasion, he had laid down the following pro- 
positions : 

“ 1st. That the British Government cannot, with 
the smallest prospect of success, employ a military 
force .in Persia, for the purpose of opposing the 
progress of the Russian arms, or of Russian in- 
fluence in that quarter. 

“ 2nd. That we could not advance our military 
line of frontier in India, in the direction of Persia, 
without exciting jealousy and distrust on the part 
of the intermediate states, nor without incurring 
great expense unattended by any corresponding ad- 

“3rd. That we could not undertake to furnish 
supplies of money to the Government of Persia, in 
whatever hands that Government may he, with 
any prospect of advantage; nor, indeed, without 
strengthening the very Power, whose designs are 
supposed to he adverse to the British interests in 

“These considerations,” he continued, “would 
seem to lead to the conclusion that nothing effectual 
can be done by the Government of India to coun- 
teract the projects of Russia in the East — that the 
only means of opposing her advance in Persia are to 
be sought in Europe ; and that whatever diplomatic 
agency it may be thought proper to maintain at the 
Court of Persia ought to act in immediate subordi- 
nation to the political authorities in this country, 



rather than under the Indian Government, which 
has no quick or certain means of communica ting 
with the Envoy at Teheran, and which neither pos- 
sesses the necessary information with respect to our 
political affairs in Europe, nor any means of com- 
pelling a European power to refrain from those acts 
affecting the interests of other nations, or tending 
to endanger the public peace.” And in a postscript 
he had added: “We might observe generally that 
it is impossible for India to secure the independence 
of Persia, unless it could furnish both a Government, 
an Exchequer, and an efficient army. It is also 
quite clear that our relations with Persia, Turkey 
(including the Pachalic of Bagdad), and Syria, con- 
stitute now a general question, which can be best 
considered and dealt with as a whole.”* 

In the course of subsequent conferences with Mr.. 
Grant, up to the very last which was held with him 
(on the 10th of December) before the dissolution of 
the Whig Ministry, Mr. Tucker had used the same 
language of remonstrance ; but almost immediately 
on the accession of Lord Ellenborough to the Board 
of Control, under the Peel Ministry, the new Presi- 
dent announced that the Persian Mission was to 
be made a European question — that an Envoy was 
to be deputed on the part of the Crown — that Mr. 
H. Ellis had been selected for the station, and that 
a communication would immediately be made to the 

* The letter is of considerable interest and importance in connexion with 
the whole Persian question ; but it is too lengthy for insertion here. 



Secret Committee respecting the arrangement. But 
Mr. Tucker at this time declined to give any pledge 
with respect to the Company contributing to defray 
the charge. 

Doubtless, however, he was well assured in his 
own mind that the Company would he compelled to 
contribute largely towards the expenses of the Mis- 
sion, although it was to he appointed by the Crown. 
When, therefore, it was decreed that the Indian 
contribution should amount to 12,000£. per annum, 
he felt that it would be of little use to remonstrate 
against the “ arrangement.”* But he could hardly 
have formed a just conception, at that time, of the 
manner in which the settlement of the affairs of 
Persia was to be made a “ European question.” It 
was so far to be a European question, that all power 
.and authority over the Persian Mission, and all 
control over the Politics of Persia, were to be vested 
in the Crown Ministers ; but whenever great mea- 
sures, costly and dangerous, were to be undertaken, 
when armies were to be moved, and millions of 
money expended for the counteraction of Russian 
intrigue, it was the Establishment of the East India 
Company that was to be indented upon, and the 
Treasury of the East India Company that was to be 
drained. The Russo-Persian question was thence- 
forth to be a “ European question ;” but it was 

* He, however, steadfastly Insisted upon the maintenance of this limit to the 
demand upon the Company. On the 26th of February he repeated to Lord 
Ellenborough that the Court would not consent to pay more than 1 2,000 1 per 
annum; and that the expense of the military must either be defrayed by the 
Shah, or the officers and men be ordered back to Persia. 


Indian blood, and it was In dian treasure that was 
to be lavished on its solution. 

Very far removed from this was Mr. Tucker’s 
conception of a European question. With a saga- 
city almost prophetic, he saw in the future the fatal 
consequences of interfering, from the side of India, 
in the affairs of Central Asia, whether the inter- 
ference were to be called diplomacy or commerce. 
With the countries beyond the Indus he desired 
that the Indian Government should have nothing 
to do. To the charmings of Alexander Bumes, 
charm he never so wisely, he was insensible : “ The 
late Sir Alexander (then Lieutenant) Bumes,” wrote 
Mr. Tucker in 1842, “was introduced to me in 
1834 as a talented and enterprising young officer ; 
and it was suggested that he might be usefully 
employed as a commercial agent at Caubul, to en- 
courage our commerce with that country, and to 
aid in opening the river Indus to British industry 
and enterprise. I am, upon principle, friendly to 
the extension of all legitimate commerce ; but if 
appeared to me that the commercial resources of 
Afghanistan, and the means of deriving advantage 1 : 
from an intercourse with that country, were greatly 
magnified; for I had reason to know that the 
country was poor and difficult of access, that the; 
people were turbulent, and that the state of society 
was not such as to justify an expectation that the; 
Afghans could easily be led to adopt peaceful and 
industrious habits. I declined, then, to propose, or 
to concur in, the appointment of Lieutenant Bumes 



to a commercial agency in Caubul, feeling perfectly 
assured that it must speedily degenerate into a 
political agency, and that we should, as a necessary 
consequence, he involved in all the entanglement of 
Afghan politics.* These, I believe, were nearly 
the precise words frequently repeated by me, in ex- 
pressing my objection to the projected arrange- 
ment. From 1835-36 the entire charge of our 
relations with Persia was assumed by his Majesty’s 
Government. Dr. (now Sir John) M‘Neill was ap- 
pointed Ambassador to the Shah ; and the only 
duty, or function, which devolved upon the Court 
of Directors was to supply the sum of 12,000Z. per 
annum, under the arrangement of January, 1835, 
to defray the charge of the embassy. Lieutenant 
Bumes returned to India ; and after a short in- 
terval was deputed on a mission to Runjeet Singh 
at Lahore, and subsequently obtained the appoint- 
ment of political agent at Caubul, where his nego- 
tiations with the ex-ruler, Dost Mahomed, and his 
rupture with that chief, were made public under 
an order of the House of Commons. In these 
transactions the Court of Directors took no part ; 
nor were we made acquainted officially with the 
projects of the Indian Government and their hostile 
preparations until an army was actually assembled 

* On November 11, 1834, with reference to Lieut. Burnes, Mr. Tucker men- 
tioned his application to be recommended to the appointment of agent at 
Caubul, or on the Indus, and gave it as his opinion that no such agency was 
necessary at present, and that he could not with propriety interfere with the 
local Government in selecting for public situations. Mr. Grant concurred 
entirely with respect to the inexpediency of appointing an agent at Caubul. 


on the banks of the Sutlej for the invasion of Af- 
ghanistan. I was not, however (continued Mr. 
Tucker), inattentive to the proceedings abroad ; and 
on the first intelligence reaching us of the military 
movement on our Western Frontier, I addressed a 
letter to an illustrious statesman, so far back as the 
8th November, 1838, deprecating the policy which 
appeared to have led to that movement, and point- 
ing out, in strong terms, the danger of prosecuting 
an enterprise against Afghanistan for the purpose 
of deposing the de facto ruler, and of substituting 
our pensioner, Shujah-ool-Moolk, in his place. As 
the papers were from time to time produced, I 
again addressed the same illustrious statesman, 
under date the 8th and 12th February, 1839 ; and 
I also addressed two other distinguished statesmen 
on the same subject, under date the 16th March 
and 3rd April following.” The statesmen of whom 
Mr. Tucker here speaks were the Duke of Welling- 
ton, Sir Robert Peel, and Lord Ellenborough. It 
would be an injustice to the subject of this Memoir 
to withhold the remarkable letters to which he al- 
ludes : 


“3, Upper Portland-place, 8th November, 1838. 

“ My Lord Duke, — The late military movements in India 
must, I am sure, have attracted your Grace’s attention; and I 
will not therefore apologise for submitting some observations 
on a subject which is of the highest national interest. 

“ About five years ago, when I held the situation of Chairman 
of the Court, I ventured to urge an opinion that our concerns 
in Persia, in consequence of the position and movements of 

2 K 



Russia, had become an European, and not an Asiatic question 
— that it was impossible to meet and counteract Russia at 
Teheran — that we might lavish our money upon a weak and 
corrupt Court — but that we could not assist it with a military 
force sufficient to secure, its independence as against Russia, 
whose armies were at hand; and that therefore our obvious 
policy was to operate upon Russia in Europe . 

“ I was also adverse to the project of establishing a mission at 
Caubul. The professed object was to extend our commerce 
with Central Asia by the Indus ; but it appeared to me certain 
that our Agency would assume a political character, and that we 
should soon be mixed up in all the perplexed politics of the 
Afghans; and even if we should succeed in opening a commer- 
cial road through the Punjab, or otherwise, to Afghanistan, we 
should only make a military road from that country to Hin- 
dostan, which appeared to me to be by no means desirable. 

“ Your Grace is aware that, about this time, the Persian 
Embassy was transferred to his Majesty’s Government, the East 
India Company undertaking to defray the charge, to the extent 
of 12,000/. per annum, while the idea of establishing an Agency 
at Caubul was for the time abandoned. 

“ But that which I had deprecated, and which it was my 
great object to prevent — a military movement from India — has 
now actually taken place; and, from certain indications, I am 
persuaded that it has taken place under orders from this 
country. The transfer of our Persian relations to his Majesty’s 
Government has therefore, I apprehend, brought upon us the 
very evil which it was intended to prevent. The late Sir R. 
Grant would never, I am satisfied, have made that pitiful 
demonstration in the Persian Gulf without authority from 
hence, nor would Lord Auckland — who has shown great 
prudence in other instances — have embarked, I think, in so 
fearful an enterprise without express authority from home. 

“ The evil, then, originating here } it is only in this country 
that its progress can be arrested. 

u In order to give your Grace some idea of the feeling which 
has been produced in India by our projected movements on our 


North-Western frontier, I beg to enclose an extract from a late 
letter from a correspondent on the spot; and I will add a brief 
summary of what appear to me to be the facts of the case, and 
the position in which we have placed ourselves. 

“ 1st. We have contracted an alliance with Shah Shujah, 
and have appointed a Minister to his Court; although he does 
not possess a rood of ground in Afghanistan, nor a rupee # which 
he does not derive from our bounty as a quondam pensioner. We 
thus embroil ourselves in all the intricate and perplexed concerns 
of the Afghan tribes. We place Dost Mahomed, the de facto 
sovereign, in open hostility against us ; we alienate the Prince 
Kamran of Herat, who is nearer than Shah Shujah in the line 
of succession of the Douranee Family ; and even if we succeed 
in ousting Dost Mahomed, and placing Shah Shujah on the 
throne of Caubul,' we must maintain him in the government by 
a large military force, at the distance of 800 miles from our 
frontier and our resources. 

“ 2nd. If our army should succeed in penetrating into 
Afghanistan, our line of communication will be intercepted by 
the Punjab and Scinde, which in the course of events may 
become hostile to our proceedings. 

“ 3rd. Our right flank is already menaced by the Nepaulese; 
our left is open to the Rajpoot States, who, I apprehend, are 
by no means well-disposed towards us ; while our rear may be 
attacked by the Burmese, who are notoriously hostile 

“ The military demonstration on the coast of Persia is as much 
at variance with sound policy, as it is with political morality 
(for we are not at war with Persia), and I can compare it with 
nothing but our lamentable proceedings towards Holland and 
Spain. The movement on our North-Western frontier seems 
to have proceeded from the same source; and it may involve us 
in much more serious consequences . 

“ In fine, if some decided steps be not speedily taken for the 
purpose of averting the evils which seem to impend over us, we 
shall not long, I fear, be able to say that the sun never sets 
upon the dominions of Great Britain, or at least we shall not 
be able to say that its widely-extended possessions are the 

2 k 2 



source of strength, power, and prosperity to the parent 
country. — I have the honor to be, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker.” 


“ Strathfieldsaye, December 12th, 1888. 

“ My dear Sir, — I have received and perused with much 
interest your letter of the 8th of December, I conclude, but 
you have written it November. 

“ I had understood that the raising the siege of Herat was 
to be the signal for abandoning the expedition to the Indus. 
It will be very unfortunate if that intention should be altered. 
The consequence of crossing the Indus once to settle a go- 
vernment in Afghanistan, will be a perennial march into that 

“ The policy of the Persian Court has of course been in- 
fluenced by its fears of Russian invasion. On the other hand, 
nothing was to be looked for from her Majesty’s Government. 
I should think that the invasion by the Persian Gulf was 
carried on as a make-weight against Russian influence. This 
invasion certainly had an effect, and if I have not been mis- 
informed, affected the Russian Government to a greater degree 
than anything else that could be done. 

“ I don’t know that while the siege of Herat continued, 
particularly by the aid of Russian officers and troops, even in 
the form of deserters, the Government of India could have 
done otherwise than prepare for its defence. But I cannot 
understand the Afghan or Sikh policy. I don’t think that 
Runjeet Singh, established on both sides of the Indus, is a 
safer neighbour than Zemaun Shah was. An emergency, 
such as an immediately expected invasion, might oblige a 
Government to take a course inconsistent with its ordinary 
political system; but when the danger is passed, we ought not 
to incur fresh risks in order to carry into execution a system 
which must eventually be inconvenient to us, and lead to fresh 
wars and expense. — I confess that I anxiously hope that the 
next accounts will bring us the report that the expedition is 
given up. — Believe me, ever yours most sincerely, 




“ 8th February, 1839. 

“ Mr Lord Duke, — It was very satisfactory to me, and I 
believe to all who are interested in the welfare of India, to 
observe that both your Grace and Sir Robert Peel had called 
the particular attention of Parliament to the present state of 
our affairs in the East, for it is to Parliament only that we can 
now look for the means of overcoming our difficulties, and I 
may add, of averting our dangers. 

44 The Tripartite Treaty of Alliance concluded at Lahore, on 
the 20th June last, has been laid before our Court, and your 
Grace may like to run over it. A more extraordinary State 
Paper has never come under my notice. It is evidently of 
Native origin and character, having originated with Runjeet 
Singh, but we have made some fearful additions to it for his 
sole benefit. We undertake, in fact, to guarantee to him and 
his heirs all of his present possessions east of the Indus, in- 
cluding Cashmcer and Moultan, and a large tract of country on 
the right bank extending west to the Khibur Pass and south of 
the neighbourhood of Shikarpoor, including the valley of Pesha- 
wur, &c., &c. I cannot trace its range to the south exactly, 
for some of the places named are not to be found in the map. 

44 This treaty cannot fail to arm the whole Afghan nation 
against us, not excepting the great tribe of Durannies, nor even 
the clan of Suddozyes, to which Shujah-ool-Moolk himself 
belongs; and it will also, I fear, be regarded with an evil eye 
by the Ameers of Scinde and the Chief of Bhawulpore, for 
it places these chiefs entirely at the mercy of Runjeet Singh. 
In truth, the sole object of the .treaty would seem to be to erect 
the Sikh state into a stronger barrier between us and the Ma- 
homedan states of the west ; but as the Afghans bear a most 
inveterate hatred towards the Sikhs, both as 4 Kaffres,’ as 6 per* 
secutors of the Faith,’ and as invaders who have dismembered 
their territory, — I am persuaded that wc could not have re- 
sorted to more effectual means to ruin the cause of Shujah- 
ool-Moolk, and to strengthen the government of Dost Ma- 
homed, his opponent. 



“ The main army will halt, I have no doubt, for we are already, 

I suspect, alarmed here at our own work; but what will then 
become of Shujah*ool-Moolk’s hasty levies, or of the small 
force under Sir John Keane ? The advance of the latter, I 
apprehend, will be clandestinely obstructed, if not openly op- 
posed by the Scindians, and the inhabitanst of the intervening 

“If we had pushed forward Runjeet Singh, as the Russians 
have pushed forward Persia, I could have understood the policy 
of such a proceeding, although I might demur to the wisdom 
and justice of embroiling other nations in order to promote 
our own interests, or even to ward off an apprehended danger ; 
but I cannot understand the policy of undertaking a burden- 
some and perilous war, for the purpose of aggrandising Run- 
jeet Singh, whose armies, be it remembered, are under the 
direction of French officers. 

“ As the treaty is almost unintelligible by itself, I have given 
notice of motion for further papers explanatory of its origin, 
objects, and provisions. These will not be granted, I fear, at 
least not to the extent I require ; and I shall therefore prepare 
to place on record a formal protest against our whole proceed- 
ing, from such materials as I can command. 

“I would not trouble your Grace again on this subject, but 
I know that you take a warm interest in everything affecting 
the great interests of the country ; and I am sure that you con- 
sider the well-being of India as comprehended in those great 

“ I have not made any communication to Sir Robert Peel 
on this subject; but if the question should be first mooted in 
the House of Commons, where the Indian Minister is to be 
found, and I can furnish any information likely to be of use, I 
need scarcely say that I should be most happy to communi- 
cate it. 

“ I have the honor to be, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ I had sketched a brief analysis of the Tripartite Treaty ; 
but as it is hasty and imperfect, I will not trouble your Grace 


with it. As, however, my friend Mr. Edmonstone is nrach 
better authority in these matters, your Grace might like to see 
a private note written by him on the subject. 

“His Grace the Duke of Wellington.” 


“ February 12, 1839. 

“ Mx Lord Duke,— I have been favored with your Grace’s 
note, and I regret that I cannot answer your question with any 
degree of certainty. In fact, the motion which I shall make 
to-morrow will have for its object to obtain information upon 
this and other branches of the question. 

“ There has, I have reason to believe, been a good deal of cor- 
respondence, through the Secret Committee, on this subject, 
with the Governor-General, and Lord Auckland’s information 
has, I have no doubt, been obtained through Captain (now Sir 
Alexander) Burnes, who has been employed for some time in a 
political capacity at Caubul. I have seen several private letters 
from that officer, from which it appeared that a Russian agent 
had been received by Dost Mahomed, and had been carrying 
on very active intrigues for the purpose of engaging the State 
of Caubul to take part in a confederation against the British 
Government; but all this stands upon the authority of Sir A. 
Burnes, who represented that he was endeavoring to counter- 
act this intrigue. 

u Your Grace may recollect that Captain Burnes came to this 
country in 1834, with a view, as I had reason to believe, to 
induce the Home authorities, upon the recommendation of 
Lord W. Bentinck, to establish a commercial agency at Caubul, 
or upon the Indus. This proposition I strongly, and, for the 
time, successfully opposed, on the ground that a commercial 
agency would soon become a political agency, and be the 
means of involving us in all the perplexed affairs of the 
Afghans. The result has shown that I had but too much 
reason for my apprehensions; and I attribute mainly our late 
unfortunate alliances, and the war with which we are threatened, 
to our negotiations at Caubul, or rather, to our intermeddling 
in the affairs of that State. 



“ Your Grace will perceive, from the enclosed note from my 
friend Mr. Edmonstone, that he entertains great doubts with 
respect to our having any sufficient grounds for our connecting 
Russia and Persia with those occurrences which have led to our 
present hostile movement; but although Lord Auckland does 
not name Russia in his proclamation of the 1st of October last, 
it is quite evident that he points directly to that power, and 
that the treaty which he has entered into with Runjeet Singh 
and Shujah-ool-Moolk, was intended to create a barrier against 
the supposed designs of Persia and Russia. 

“ As your Grace appears to have paid such kind attention 
to my communications on this subject, I venture to submit for 
your perusal a brief analysis of the Tripartite Treaty of alliance 
lately concluded at Lahore; and you will perceive from this 
paper that, although unacquainted officially with the facts of 
the case, and with the causes of our present warlike proceeding, 
I have at least endeavored to trace out their probable conse- 

u The object of the treaty I think that I sufficiently under- 
stand ; but I think, at the same time, that its policy is more 
than doubtful. 

“I have the honor to be, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ I have notes of numerous conferences with the President 
of the Board in 1834 on the subject of our relations with 
Persia, and I invariably maintained, on those occasions, that our 
relations with that power, influenced as it was by Russia, con- 
stituted a European question, and that it was impossible for the 
Government of India to deal with it effectively. 

“ I urged, at the same time, the reasons which I have re- 
peated in the papers before your Grace, against any attempt to 
form a political connexion with the State of Caubul; but even 
if it be admitted that such a connexion was desirable, very 
strong and obvious objections exist, I think, to our alliance 
with Shujah-ool-Moolk and Runjeet Singh.” # 




“3, Upper Portland Place, 16th March, 1839. 

“My Lord, — I have been favored with your Lordship’s 
note of yesterday, and beg to return my best thanks for the 
papers ; but a copy of these precious documents was placed 
before the Court on Wednesday last, and I cannot consider the 
proceeding otherwise than as a mere mockery and insult to our 
understandings; for some of the treaties are twenty or thirty 
years of age, and have long been upon our open records. The 
rest have no bearing upon the present state of our political and 
military affairs in India. 

“ I have determined not to submit myself to this mockery, 
and I shall accordingly place my protest upon record without 
further delay; for I will not incur even the risk of responsi- 
bility by my silence. 

“ I have been in India under critical circumstances, but I 
have never had the same apprehension of danger as at the present 
moment. Your Lordship will perceive the feeling which pre- 
vails on the spot from the accompanying extract; but although 
there may be some exaggeration in the statement, it is corro- 
borated in its leading features by the information which I 
receive from other quarters. I do hope that your Lordship 
and others, who really know India, will take some decided 
step. To know what is right, and to sec what is wrong, 
without endeavoring to enforce the one and to avert the other, 
is to incur, I think, serious responsibility. We all deprecate 
the loss of Canada, as a national calamity; but what is Canada 
to our Eastern Empire ? 

“ If things go on for another twelvemonth on their present 
footing, and under the present management, my impression is 
that the evil will be without remedy. 

“We have been called upon to augment our European force, 
by adding ten men to each company; but these recruits will 
not be available in the field as soldiers for two years to come ! 
This is in keeping with all our late operations. 

“ I have the honor to be, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

Right Hon. Lord Ellenborough.” 




“ 3rd April, 1839. 

u Mr dear Sir, — I have been using my best efforts for 
some time past to call attention to the state of our affairs in 
India; but on my own proper ground these efforts have been 
attended with little or no success. 

“ It appears to me, however, that in society a greater interest 
has been shown of late in the state of India than I recollect to 
have observed at any former period; and I am willing to hope 
that this interest has extended itself to Parliament, where alone 
any question of national concernment can be treated with any 
prospect of advantage. 

“I have, indeed, heard, and the report has afforded me par- 
ticular satisfaction, that it is intended, at an early period, to 
bring the present state of our affairs in India fairly and fully 
under the consideration of both Houses of Parliament. 

u Papers have been called for, and some have been produoed 
and printed ; but they are in general mere 4 extracts of letters, 
which do not afford a full and perfect relation of recent trans- 

“ Much has been suppressed ; and although there are strong 
reasons for believing that the late movements have been di- 
rected or encouraged from this country (in some instances, I 
suspect, by means of an extra-official correspondence), the whole 
responsibility attaching to measures of fearful importance would 
seem at present to be thrown upon the Governor-General of 

“ You must possess ample information with respect to India, 
and you can command, w T hen necessary, the best assistance from 
the highest quarter; but it has occurred to me that the accom- 
panying paper (which is the transcript of a letter addressed by 
me to the Court of Directors) may aid your inquiries in some 
slight degree, if it be intended (as I trust it is) to institute pro- 
ceedings in Parliament, with a firm determination to examine 
thoroughly and unflinchingly into the present state of our 
affairs in India, and into the causes which have produced the 
existing embarrassment. 



“ In fact, if this be not done promptly, the rescue may come 
too late. Individual exertions can effect nothing in this coun- 
try. Party combinations, aided by eloquence, can alone give 
an impulse and right direction to popular feeling, and in 
nothing is popular feeling so sluggish here as on subjects re- 
lating to India. Scarcely any question has excited a general 
interest since the* Bill of 1784. The last Charter- Act passed 
with little opposition or notice, although it introduced some 
desperate innovations in the pre-existing system, both political 
and commercial. 

“ Foreigners understand the value of India to us. We do not. 
They have heretofore been compelled to admire our wise and 
self-denying policy. They now perceive our errors with a very 
complacent feeling, and they will probably exult in our humi- 
liation, which they, no doubt, anticipate. The loss of Canada 
would be a misfortune. If the West Indies should become a 
worthless possession (no improbable event) this, too, must be 
regarded as a national calamity. But if our dominion in India 
should, unhappily, be shaken or endangered, what would be 
the fate of this empire, once so transcendently great and 
glorious? It would be as melancholy an object as Palmyra in 
the Desert ! 

“ I have the honor to be, 

“ My dear Sir, &c., &c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ Right Hon. 

“ Sir Robert Peel, Bart., &c. &c.” 

The answers which these stirring letters educed 
showed that the opinions which he so emphatically 
enunciated were shared by the statesmen whom he 
had addressed. “ But,” continued Mr. Tucker, in 
the Retrospect already quoted, “ as it appeared that 
I should not by these appeals exonerate myself from 
responsibility as a Director, I was induced to ad- 
dress a letter to the Court, under date the 29th of 



January, 1889,* in which I reviewed much in de- 
tail the grounds of the policy which had been 
adopted by the Government of India in the Tri- 
partite Treaty of the 20th of June, 1838, and in the 
Proclamation of the Governor-General of the 1st of 
October of that year, and in which 1 also pointed 
out the consequences likely to result from the pro- 
secution of so dangerous and so unjustifiable a 
policy. One of our colleagues (Sir Henry Willock) 
about the same time, from, a high sense of public 
duty, pursued the same course, and addressed the 
Foreign Secretary on the subject ; and as he was well 
acquainted with the country and with the character 
of the people, his opinions were entitled to great 
weight. I do not know how far our reasoning may 
have produced an effect ; but the President of the 
Board called for and received a copy of my letter on 
the 6th of March ; and I cannot doubt also that he 
received every necessary information to enable him 
to form a sound judgment, from the gentlemen who 
filled the Chairs of the Court at the time, and who 

* This paper was “ drawn up as a protest in consequence of Sir John 
llobhouse having refused to place certain documents before the Court for 
their information.” “ Upon notice of motion, however,” wrote Mr. Tucker to 
the Duke of Wellington on the 31st of January, “ he yesterday furnished us 
with a copy of the treaty concluded by Lord Auckland, and my protest will 
not, therefore, be placed on record for the present. The subject will, how- 
ever, be brought before the Court, as I conclude it must be also before Par- 
liament.” In the same letter Mr. Tucker says : “lam not one of those who 
would rush headlong into a war with Russia, but I would wish to see our 
Government pursue a more manly and straightforward course, and not fence 
in the dark with a power which we do not even venture to name. Such a 
state of things could not have occurred under ordinary circumstances, but we 
are now so entangled that I cannot perceive how we can advance with safety 
or retreat with honor.” 



were conversant with Indian affairs from a long re- 
sidence in that country.” 

But whatever effect the reasoning of Mr. Tucker 
and Sir Henry Willock may have had upon the 
opinions of the Crown Ministers, it had none what- 
ever upon their actions. In the East they pushed 
forward the war ; and in the West they vigorously 
defended it. There was a brilliant dawn of delusive 
success ; and for a time the eyes of the multitude 
were dazzled. But there were some far-seeing men, 
who saw clearly and said truly that success at 
the outset was necessary to the consummation of 
eventual failure — that our difficulties would com- 
mence just at the point where they seemed to termi- 
nate. The expedition into Afghanistan was, for a 
time, considered a master-stroke of diplomacy and a 
triumph of military enterprise. Lord Auckland was 
the greatest of statesmen ; Lord Keane the greatest 
of soldiers ; and Shah Soojah the most popular of 
monarchs. But the Protests which Mr. Tucker 
had recorded were not belied by the march of 

The papers, in which he placed upon record his 
remonstrances against the dangerous course of 
policy which had been adopted by the Crown Minis- 
ters, were dated January 29 and April 12, 1839. 
They have already been laid before the public, and 
need not, therefore, be quoted here. Before the 
issue of events had proved the remarkable pre- 
science by which these Protests were distinguished, 
the soundness of the reasoning, and the general 



sagacity by which they were marked, no less than 
the manliness of their tone and the eloquence of 
their diction, had called forth the commendation of 
some of the greatest of English statesmen. And at 
a later period, one, who on such a subject as this 
was even more competent than Wellington, Peel, 
and Ellenborough to pronounce an authoritative 
opinion,* wrote to Mr. Tucker that he had read 
these papers, “ not only with admiration, but almost 
with wonder, at the correct, complete, and prophetic 
view which they take of every part of the question 
connected with our Afghan mania.” “You were 
one of the few,” wrote the same great man, in an- 
other letter, “ who condemned our mad policy in 
Afghanistan, when the world admired and ap- 
plauded; and although you could not prevent it, 
your opposition to it will ever redound to your 

He could not prevent it. He saw the war run 
its course. He saw the initial triumphs, and the 
treacherous calm which succeeded them ; but he 
was not deluded by the mask of success. Then he 
saw the storm gathering, and he was one of those 
who would have anticipated the failure which ere 
long was to be written in characters of blood, by 
leaving Shah Soojah to govern the country which 
we had restored to him, without the aid of his Ee- 
ringhee allies. He was one of those who, when the 
storm burst over us, contended that it would be 
madness to endeavor to re-establish our influence 

* Lord Metcalfe. 



in Afghanistan ; and that the sooner every British 
soldier could he withdrawn to our own side of the 
Indus the better for the stability of the British Em- 
pire in the East. And he was foremost amongst 
those who contended that, as the war had been 
undertaken for European purposes, under instruc- 
tions from the Crown Ministers, without the sanc- 
tion or even the cognisance, officially and collec- 
tively, of the Court of Directors, it was a great 
iniquity to throw the entire financial responsibility 
of the war on the shoulders of the East India Com- 
pany. “ It was no doubt very convenient,” he said, 
“ for his Majesty’s Government to cast the whole 
burden of an enterprise directed against Russia on 
the finances of India, instead of sending a fleet into 
the Baltic or the Black Sea ; but we are bound to 
resist the attempt to alienate and misapply the re- 
sources of India.” 

Such an unrighteous misapplication of the reve- 
nues of the country, which it was the especial duty 
of the Court to protect against all such unjust 
spoliation, he determined to resist; and his col- 
leagues were leagued together in the same good 
work of resistance. In furtherance of this object, 
he proceeded to estimate the ascertained amount of 
war-charges which the expedition across the Indus 
had entailed upon the Indian Government; and 
then he enunciated the following undeniable pro- 
positions : 

“ 1st. That Persia, having for some time prior to 1835 sub- 
mitted to the influence of Russia, the political relations of the 



British Government with the former country, constituted pro- 
perly a European rather than an Asiatic question, and that it 
could only, therefore, be dealt with as such. 

“ 2nd. That this assumption was admitted and acted upon 
by his Majesty’s Government, who, on the 15th of January 
and 24th of February, 1835, entered into an arrangement with 
the Court of Directors, founded on these premises. 

“ 3rd. That the Tripartite Treaty of the 20th of June, 1838, 
was contracted without the consent, or previous knowledge, of 
the Court of Directors ; that the policy which dictated that 
treaty was neither sanctioned nor approved by them ; and that 
they were not made acquainted with the obligations contracted 
by it until the 1 Army of the Indus’ was put in motion, under 
the Proclamation of the Governor-General of India of the 1st 
of October, 1838, for carrying the treaty into effect. 

“ 4th. That an extraordinary expenditure has been incurred 
in the execution of the treaty, to the extent of not less than 
8,000,000/. sterling,* which ought not to fall on the finances of 
India, the service having been undertaken as against Russia , 
and with a view to European objects and policy, and not for 
the protection of our Indian possessions or frontiers, which 
were never endangered, or even menaced, by an enemy. 

“ 5th. That the East India Company having delivered up its 
commercial assets, amounting to fifteen millions sterling, for the 
purpose of being applied to the discharge of territorial debt, 
and for other territorial objects, and having been compelled to 
borrow large sums of money, amounting in the last year, 
1841-42, to nearly three millions sterling, chiefly for the pur- 
pose of maintaining our footing in Afghanistan ; its Adminis- 
trators, the Court of Directors, are no longer in a condition to 
raise the necessary supplies to defray the Home Charges, the 
Interest of the Public Debt, and the Civil and Military ex- 
penses abroad, without aid from the National Government; 
and that, should it be judged necessary to put forth another 
expedition for the re-conquest of Afghanistan, the resources of 

* The entire expenses of the war were subsequently ascertained to amount 
to 15,000,000/. 



India will be found unequal to the enterprise. Money must be 
raised (if it can be raised at all in India) at an extravagant 
rate of interest ; the public creditors will be seriously injured 
by the deterioration of the existing securities, bearing an in- 
terest of only four and five per cent, per annum ; while the 
public finances will, it is to be apprehended, be reduced to a 
state of irretrievable disorder.” . 

Then, having entered into the historical facts of 
the case in a retrospect, which I have already quoted, 
and emphatically repeated that “ his Majesty’s Go- 
vernment is solely and exclusively responsible for 
the expenditure which has been incurred, and for 
all the other consequences arising out of the occu- 
pation of Afghanistan,” he proceeded to say : 

“ If these premises be correct (and it is not even pretended 
that we were willing instruments in the hands of his Majesty’s 
Ministers), I would submit that the Court are entitled and arc 
bound to claim indemnification from his Majesty’s Govern- 
ment. The extraordinary charge incurred, and to be incurred, 
to the 30tli of April, 1842, may be fairly estimated at eight 
millions sterling ; and I would suggest, that in order to render 
it more easy for the National Government to provide for the 
demand, an annuity equal to the interest of that sum at 3 J- per 
cent, (the rate which Consols now yield), or 266,000/., be 
settled by Parliament on the East India Company ; the amount 
to be applied, in the first instance, to augment the existing 
Guarantee Fund so far as to ensure its reaching its maximum 
of twelve millions within forty years from the date of the last 
Charter ; and such annuity to be afterwards applied as a Sink- 
ing Fund for the security and ultimate redemption of the 
Public Debt of India. 

“There is nothing extravagant or unreasonable in this 
claim ; for the National Government must ultimately make up 
the Guarantee Fund to the sum of twelve millions, by the terms 

2 L 



o£ the Charter- Act ; and when it is recollected that the Com- 
mercial Assets of the Company have realised 15,215,6541., a 
large portion of which sum has been appropriated to the dis- 
charge of Territorial Debt, and other incumbrances, the Pro- 
prietors of East India Stock have just reason to expect, and to 
require, that their pecuniary interests be adequately secured 
and prpvided for. 

“ Prospectively, some extension of the arrangement may 
eventually become necessary; for if it be determined to send 
forth another expedition, on a larger scale, for the re-conquest 
of Afghanistan, the resources of India will be found absolutely 
unequal to the undertaking. We must go on borrowing at a 
high rate of interest, while the dividends of the Proprietors of 
East India Stock, and the interest payable to the public 
creditors, must be provided for by means of loans. This is a 
state of things which cannot long continue or be tolerated; and 
no man at all acquainted with India will be prepared to main- 
tain that the extraordinary supplies required can be furnished 
by means of increased taxation on the already over-taxed 
people of India.” 

There was reason in all this — there was justice in 
all this : so much reason and so much justice, that 
the Crown Ministers, then being Conservative states- 
men, and not themselves the authors of the war, 
made a show of considering the claims of the Com- 
pany, and virtually, indeed, admitted their cogency. 
It need not, however, he said that nothing was 
done. The Court of Directors, true to themselves, 
true to the country whose resources had been thus 
lamentably wasted, pushed their claims with stead- 
fastness and vigor. The Court of Proprietors made 
a demonstration in the same direction ; and many 
truths were uttered — as truths often are uttered in 
that assembly — all to very little effect. The people 



of India had paid the expenses of a war which, from 
first to last, had been a mystery to them — a war 
made for European purposes by the representatives 
of the English Government — and let the Court of 
Directors and the Court of Proprietors clamor as 
they might, not one sixpence was to be refunded. 

Against this great injustice Mr. Tucker never 
ceased to protest. He well knew that there were 
no charges more often brought against the Govern- 
ment of the East India Company than that it 
wasted its resources on unprofitable wars, and was 
greedy of territorial aggrandisement. And here 
was a case, to be cited in all time, of a prodigious 
waste of public money drawn from the labor of 
the people of India — an expenditure of millions 
cast upon the waters to return to us in blood, and 
tears. This war had been prosecuted by the agency 
of the armies of the East India Company, and 
maintained by their revenues. In the flush of its 
first success, the Crown Ministers, in Parliament 
and on the Hustings, had boasted of it as a master- 
stroke of policy redounding to the honor of the 
existing Cabinet ; but when these boasted measures 
were clouded by disaster and disgrace, and it was 
found that millions of money had been expended 
only to bring about the most appalling catastrophe 
recorded in the annals of our Indian Empire, the 
whole responsibility of the war was cast upon the 
East India Company, and in spite of expostulations 
and remonstrances bearing the eternal stamp of 
justice upon them, the people of India were com- 

2 l 2 



polled to pay the cost of the vagaries of Downing- 
street. Had the millions thus misapplied been 
suffered to remain in the Company’s Treasury, for 
ordinary purposes of internal administration, 
placing at the disposal of the local authorities an 
increasing surplus, and so stimulating the benevo- 
lent energies of the Home Government, it is hard 
to say what blessings, in the shape of great repro- 
ductive agencies, might not have been conferred 
upon the people. But instead of this, throughout 
the greater part of the period embraced by the 
Charter-Act of 1834, the curse of a Deficit sate 
upon the arm of our Indian administrators, and 
paralysed their ameliorative efforts. That Deficit 
the Company owed primarily to the misdeeds of the 
Crown Ministers ; and, secondarily, to the supine- 
ness of the Parliament of Great Britain, which took 
no account of these misdeeds. But the rare J.ustice 
which had squandered the revenues of India upon 
objects of European policy continued to pursue the 
East India Company. It was made a reproach to 
them that they had wasted the money drawn from 
the labor of the people upon profligate and im- 
politic wars ; and because they had not done more 
good with this money, it was authoritatively de- 
creed, by the Government which had spent it and 
the Parliament which had permitted the expendi- 
ture, that therefore the share of the Company in 
the future government should be diminished and the 
Ministerial element increased. 

Such was the justice of the first charge against 



the Company’s Government, and the justice with 
which it was disposed of by the Government of the 
Crown. The second charge of which I have spoken 
of is, that the Company have proved themselves to 
be greedy of territory, and have unrighteously ex- 
tended their dominions. A signal instance of this 
is to be found in the case of the appropriation of 
Scinde. Scarcely had Mr. Tucker ceased to protest 
against the iniquity of the Afghan invasion and the 
scandalous misappropriation of the Company’s re- 
venues which it involved, when he was disquieted 
by the announcement of the spoliation of Scinde. 
Lord Ellenborough having restored peace to Asia, 
and stamped the gratifying fact on a commemorative 
medal, immediately made war upon the Ameers of 
Scinde. These unhappy Princes, who might have 
wrought us grievous annoyance during the brilliant 
retributory operations of Pollock and Nott, and 
who, if they had really desired to compass our over- 
throw, exhibited in this juncture an extraordinary 
amount of forbearance, were known to be weak, and 
therefore they were declared to be hostile. Napier 
and his battalions were let loose upon them. With 
a signal display of courage worthy of a better 
eause, the British General, with greatly inferior 
numbers, flung himself upon the Belloochee host, 
and humbled the Talpoor Princes to the dust. 
There are some bright pages of military history in 
our annals of Eastern conquest which should be 
read apart from their political context ; and this is 
one of them. The Ameers of Scinde were beaten 



in battle ; and tbeir country proclaimed a British 

This was one of those grievous wrongs which 
were sure to stir the heart of Mr. Tucker with 
measureless indignation, and to call forth from him 
no uncertain trumpet-sounds of expostulation and 
remonstrance. It may he stated here again, that, 
as a man, he was a stanch Tory. His political 
sympathies were all with the Conservative party. 
He had rejoiced in the return of Sir Robert Peel to 
office. He had recognised the great natural talents 
and the official diligence of Lord Ellenborough at 
the Board of Control, and believed that the appoint- 
ment of that nobleman to the Governor-Generalship 
of India was to be hailed as an auspicious event — 
ominous of a reign of prosperity and peace. But 
aB an East India Director he was of no party. He 
had denounced the invasion of Afg hanistan and the 
deposition of Dost Mahomed ; and he saw in the 
spoliation of Scinde a kindred act of injustice. The 
Court of Directors, to a man, were ranged upon the 
same side. I believe that a considerable majority 
of them at this time belonged to the Conservative 
party. But it is a distinguishing merit of the Go- 
vernment of the East India Company that its Di- 
rectors shake the dust of faction off their feet when 
they pass the threshold of the great house in 
Leadenhall-street. They looked only at the injus- 
tice and impolicy of conquering and annexin g a 
country, the rulers of which had in reality exercised 
singular forbearance under great provocation, 



the revenues of which could not he made to cover 
the cost of its administration and its defence. So at 
the end of August, 1843, they formally passed a 
resolution, declaring that, in their opinion, the pro- 
ceedings adopted towards the Ameers of Scinde had 
been unjust and impolitic, and inconsistent with the 
true honor and interests of our Indian Government. 

Before this, Mr. Tucker had placed upon record 
his opinions on the subject of the annexation of 
Scinde.* In spite of his strong Conservative lean- 
ings, and his disinclination to embarrass the Govern- 
ment of Sir Robert Peel, he had been active in call- 
ing for information relating to our proceedings 
against the Ameers, and had not scrupled to de- 
clare to the leader of the Conservative party that 
the unrighteousness of these proceedings had forced 
upon him a strong conviction that the Government 
of India was not in safe hands. In the beginning 
of June he wrote the following letter to Sir Robert 
Peel : 


“ 1st June, 1843. 

“ My dear Sir, — I believe that you know that I have long 
been an humble adherent of the Conservative body of which 
you are the distinguished leader, and that, to the utmost of my 
very slender means, I have, upon principle, advocated its cause 
and interests through good fortune and through bad fortune. 

“ But as a member of the Court of Directors I have certain 
duties imposed upon me, for the honest performance of which 
I am responsible to my constituents and to the country. I 
cannot believe that the Legislature intended' to constitute ns 
mere unmeaning cyphers; and, holding this opinion, I have 

* See Memorials of Indian Government , pp. 313, ei seq. 



always acted, according to the best of my judgment, an inde- 
pendent part, as one of the administrators of our Indian affairs. 

44 I may venture to say to you, that wiser and better men 
than myself have, for some time, been of opinion that the 
Government of India is not at present in safe hands. I concur 
in this opinion; but I have been unwilling to act upon it 
hitherto, from a feeling that extremities ought to be avoided as 
long as^possible. 

44 But the late transactions in Scinde have produced, unhap- 
pily, a crisis in our affairs ; and I cannot refrain from taking an 
early part in inquiring into the conduct of our Governor 
abroad, without exposing myself to the charge of inconsistency, 
and to a suspicion that the part which I took on the occasion 
of the invasion of Afghanistan was dictated by party and factious 

“ I have accordingly given notice of a motion for the pro- 
duction of the Scinde papers for the 7th of June; and I have 
sketched the grounds on which I propose to support this 

“ If the papers be laid before the Court, I shall examine the 
case calmly and dispassionately, and endeavor to arrive at its 
real merits. 

44 If the papers be refused, I must work with my own mate- 
rials, and place on record the result. I do not go so far as to 
say that, if the papers should not be given us, a presumption 
will arise that the Government cannot be justified, or defended; 
but I must think that an unfavorable impression will be pro- 
duced by even their temporary suppression ; nor will it be 
possible to prevent the case of the Ameers from being brought 
before the British public, sooner or later. 

“ If you should have any wish to see my Notes, a copy shall 
be immediately submitted for your perusal. They are founded 
on what is publicly known ; for I have not thought it right to 
make use of any confidential communications on the subject, 
in the present stage of our proceedings. 

44 1 have the honor to be, my dear Sir, &c., &c., 

44 H. St.G. Tucker. 

Right Hon. Sir Robert Feel, Bart.* 



Mr. Tucker hated secrecy. It was his opinion 
that the history of Indian Government was too 
much a sealed hook — that truth and justice de- 
manded a more general ventilation of Indian poli- 
tics — and that out of the Secret Committee there 
should he no official secrets. The resolutions con- 
demnatory of the annexation of Scinde’ were 
“ secret” resolutions ; but it was Mr. Tucker’s 
opinion that they ought to be recorded upon the 
public proceedings of the Court, “it being con- 
trary to usage and at variance with the constitution 
of the Court, acting under responsibility to other 
public authorities, to establish any Secret Depart- 
ment, or to withhold from the public records any 
secret resolution, or proceedings, beyond such rea- 
sonable period as can be justified, upon the ground 
that immediate publicity would seriously compro- 
mise the public interests.” And in November, 
1843, he had contemplated proposing a resolution 
to this effect ; but he had been subsequently induced 
to withhold it. That, apart from every other con- 
sideration, such secrecy is injurious to the character 
of the Company’s Government is not to be doubted. 
The conduct of the Court of Directors has in many 
instances been misunderstood and misrepresented; 
and they have submitted to these misunderstandings 
and misrepresentations with an amount of for- 
bearance which appears to me mistaken in prin- 
ciple and unjustifiable in practice. A private indi- 
vidual may submit to be misrepresented — he may 
do good by stealth, if he will, and be accused of 



doing evil, without rebutting the eharge — he may 
determine to let calumny have its way and to live 
it down, without an effort to deprive it of its sting. 
But a Government has no right to indulge in a 
magnanimous forbearance of this kind. Its cha- 
racter is public property. It cannot be misrepre- 
sented! without injury to the public. Every lie 
affecting the character of a great constitutional 
body is more or less a public calamity. If certain 
Native Princes are violently despoiled of their pos- 
sessions, and their broad lands annexed to the terri- 
tories of the East India Company, it should be 
known to the world whether it was or was not the 
greed of the Company that caused this extension of 
their empire. About such a matter as this. History 
should not go groping in the dark. How is it to be 
determined whether the Company ought expediently 
to be trusted with more or with less power, unless it 
is known what part they had in the furtherance or 
the resistance of measures which have cast a stain 
upon British policy in the East ? These were the 
opinions of Mr. Tucker ; and if he had lived to hear 
and to see what, during the discussions of 1853, was 
said and written about the Company’s Government, 
he would have been strengthened in his conviction 
of their truth.* 

* It was frequently said in my hearing that the Company might have ob- 
jected to the annexation of Scinde, but that there was no proof of it before 
the world, and that people were not called upon to take for granted the 
truth of all vague assertions or obscure rumors on the subject. Others de- 
clared that if the Company had condemned, either before or after the fact, the 
unjust treatment of the Ameers of Scinde, they would have made it known 
to the world, and that the mere fact of their silence was presumptive evidence 
of their complicity in these foul transactions. 


What Mr. Tucker, as an individual Director, 
wrote about the conquest and annexation of Scinde, 
is on record. What the Court of Directors did in 
their collective capacity, is not. I have only to do 
with the performances of the latter, in so far as they 
illustrate the sayings and doings of the subject of 
this Memoir. But even in this limited significance, 
the obscurity of which I have spoken is incon- 
venient and embarrassing. One secret makes many. 
If the Resolutions passed by the Court of Directors 
in August, 1843, with reference to the annexation of 
Scinde, were on record, they would throw much 
light upon the next subject which the Biographer of 
Henry St. George Tucker is called upon to illustrate. 
These Resolutions, relating only to our proceedings 
towards the Ameers of Scinde, were in effect a vote 
of want of confidence in Lord Ellenborough. There 
were other sources of complaint, but they were only 
petty tributary streams swelling the great flood of 
censure which set in against the unrighteous appro- 
priation of the territories of Scinde. What they 
principally were may be gathered from Mr. Tucker’s 
papers.* It is matter of history that Lord Ellen- 
borough was recalled. That Mr. Tucker, some time 
before the measure was determined upon by the 
Court, had foreseen the necessity of it, has been 
shown. He had no prejudices against the man ; he 
had greatly esteemed his many high qualities, which 
he now saw were those of one capax imperii nisi 
imperassit, and there was regret in the disappoint- 

* See papers on the “Administration of Lord Ellenborough ” — Memorials 
of Indian Government , pp. 339, et seq. 



ment. He was attached to Lord Ellenborough’s 
party; he was especially attached to some of his 
Lordship’s chief supporters — the Luke of ‘Welling- 
ton at their head — and so little could he have been 
influenced by those considerations which were un- 
truly said at the time, more than anything else, to 
have moved the Court against him, that the very 
measure which called forth the remarks of the Go- 
vernor-General provocative, it was said, of his recall, 
had been resolutely opposed by Mr. Tucker. But 
he was not one to he deterred by any feelings of 
personal regret from prosecuting his public duty. 

Lord Ellenborough was recalled. The “ gross in- 
discretion” of the East India Company was publicly 
stigmatised by the Crown Ministers; and every 
effort was made to wrap the whole question in an 
impenetrable fog, and set the public groping about 
in ignorance and perplexity. Mr. Tucker was for 
dragging it wholly into the clear light of day. In 
truth, it was a very simple and intelligible business ; 
and they who had looked for highly-seasoned reve- 
lations would, if the whole history had been made 
public, have been greatly disappointed. There was, 
indeed, very little to reveal. The Court of Lirectors 
believed that the public interests w r ould suffer by 
Lord Ellenborough’s retention of the office of Go- 
vernor-General, and therefore they recalled him. 
What Mr. Tucker believed would be the effects of 
the recall may be gathered from the following 
letter : 




“ 29th April, 1844. 

. “ My dear Lord, — Throughout a long course of years, in 
good fortune and in adverse fortune, I have continued the steady 
adherent of the party which now constitutes the Government 
of this country, and to the utmost of my very humble means 
I have rendered it all the little service in my power,* without 
receiving or seeking any recognition of those slender services. 
I have acted upon principle ; and if I am compelled to place 
myself in opposition to those whose cause and interests I have 
been so long accustomed to advocate, my motives can scarcely 
be mistaken. 

“ But I have other duties and obligations imposed on me of 
a paramount character; and those duties I will endeavor honestly 
and fearlessly to fulfil. 

“ The Court of Directors are placed at this moment in a 
position of singular embarrassment; and I must think that the 
Government has placed itself, and the public service, in a 
position of extraordinary difficulty, which may have very serious 

u The two cc-ordinate Authorities entrusted with the admi- 
nistration of India, have been exhibited to Parliament and to 
the Public as directly opposed to each other upon a most 
important question. The judgment pronounced by twenty-nine 
independent and disinterested men (for such they are) acting 
under the sacred obligation of an oath, has been virtually 
denounced and condemned (most unhappily, as I think) by a 
Minister of the Crown in his place in Parliament, that Minister 
being perfectly aware that the question had undergone the 
most deliberate consideration during eight months, and that 
the Court of Directors were fully prepared to carry out and to 
justify their resolution. 

“ Again, we have the Governor- General of India placed in 
the very singular position of being condemned by one of the 
co-ordinate Authorities, while he is supported and publicly 
justified by the other. This state of things must inevitably 
produce inconvenience and embarrassment. 



“ The first result will be, that the Court of Directors will 
find it necessary to make an immediate appeal to their consti- 
tuents, and through them to the British Public, in vindication 
of their proceedings. The whole of their correspondence with 
the Board and the Governor-General will be published; and a 
case will, I have no doubt, be made out fully to justify the 
recall of Lord Ellenborough. 

“ The second result may possibly be an appeal to Parliament, 
where we shall be able, I think, to show that the power entrusted 
to us by the Legislature was not granted in ignorance , as sup- 
posed by Lord Brougham — that the question of reserving a 
veto to the Government was discussed and abandoned — that 
any tampering with the existing law in Parliament would be a 
virtual infraction of the Charter — that the power entrusted to 
the Court has been wisely conferred — and that the absolute 
power to retain a Governor-General, the colleague or partisan 
of any Ministry, would establish a despotism in India, totally 
irreconcileable with constitutional principles, and with the 
public interests. 

“We have temperately considered all which has been urged, 
or which perhaps can be urged, against our resolution; but we 
deduce inferences exactly the reverse of those which have been 

“We are persuaded that the recall of Lord Ellenborough 
will go far to restore that confidence to the Princes and Chiefs 
of India, which his Lordship’s aggressive policy (especially in 
Scinde) has had a direct tendency to destroy. 

“ That it will promote the re-establishment of peace in India; 
and may be expected to avert the calamities of new wars which 
are impending in different quarters. 

“ That it will enable us to place our recent acquisitions in 
Scinde on a more safe and satisfactory footing. 

“ That it may prevent the further disorganisation of the 
Native army. 

“ That it will show the people of the Continent and of the 
United States that the Government of this country is not iden- 
tified with the unscrupulous and aggressive policy which has 
characterised the proceedings of the Governor-General. 



“ I could say a great deal more on the subject ; but our case 
will be fully explained and enforced at the proper season, and 
I have the most firm conviction that we shall be supported by 
the Public. 

44 The Government paper of this morning has put forth a 
foul calumny, that the Court have been influenced by a corrupt 
feeling, originating in the Governor-General’s economical re- 
forms. Nothing could be more untrue — Lord Ellenborough has 
not effected any such reforms, although he has made innumer- 
able changes, which are likely to occasion a great increase of 
charge; and if he had introduced such reforms, he would have 
received the cordial support of the Court, who can have no 
interest in any increase of expenditure. 

4 4 My seat in the Court is now of little or no value to me, 
and I care not how soon it may terminate ; but while I hold it, 
I shall do my best to maintain the independence of the Body 
to which I belong, as well as what I believe to be the interests 
of the public service. 

“And why do I address myself to your Lordship at the 
present moment on such a subject ? Because I foresee public 
mischief, and because, well knowing your great prudence and 
patriotism, I think it possible that you may have an opportunity 
of averting that mischief. 

44 With this view, your Lordship is at full liberty to make* 
any use you please of this letter. 

44 1 have the honor to be, &c., &c., most sincerely, &c., 

44 H. St.G. Tucker. 

“Right Hon. Lord Heytesbury.” 

Perhaps, Mr. Tucker somewhat over-rated the 
calm and dispassionate judgment which he believed 
that Lord Heytesbury would bring to bear upon 
this important question. His Lordship was, per- 
haps, more of a party man than his friend sus- 
pected ; and he was a devout follower of the Duke. 
At all events, the communication which Mr. Tucker 



received in reply to the above earnest letter did not 
encourage him to open out his mind any further to 
his correspondent ; so he wrote back the following 
brief rejoinder to Lord Heytesbury’s reply : 

f “1st May, 1844. 

“ My dear Lord, — I have been favored with your Lord- 
ship's note of yesterday, and I have no wish to trouble you 
further on the subject, except to explain that I never contem- 
plated for an instant the possibility of the Court retracing its 
steps. My anxious wish was to prevent, if possible, the Go- 
vernment from identifying itself, to an unnecessary extent, with 
the Governor-General, and from identifying its friends with its 
political opponents. This has now been done. W e have been 
violently attached; and as public men responsible for our acts, 
we must defend ourselves. That defence will lead us into a 
parallel line with those who are always ready to assail the 
Government. Few will deplore the possible consequences more 
than I shall do; but many, I apprehend, will have greater 
cause to deplore them. 

“ I have the honor to be, &e., & c., 

“ H. St.G. Tucker. 

“ Right Hon. Lord Heytesbury.” 

The Company did not “retrace their steps” — 
Lord Ellenborough returned to England. But it 
was not thought expedient, now that the act of 
“indiscretion” had been committed, that there 
should be a public inquiry into its history. The 
Company had accomplished their main object ; and 
the Right of Recall remained in their hands. 




Mr. Tucker’s Domestic Life — His Second Chairmanship— Appointment of 
Lord Dalhousie — Mr. Tucker’s Farewell Address — Public Entertainments 
— Correspondence with Prince Waldemar of Prussia— Dinners to Lord 
Dalhousie and Lord Hardiuge — Patronage — Official Duties. 

It is time that I should cease, for a little space, 
from the records of these exciting political events, to 
speak again of Mr. Tucker’s domestic life, and the 
repose which he enjoyed in the family circle. He 
had now numbered the allotted years of man. In 
1840 he entered his seventieth year. But there was 
a long season of usefulness yet before him ; and his 
strength was not labor and sorrow. He was in the 
enjoyment of excellent health ; all his faculties were 
unimpaired ; his memory was as perfect as in his 
youth ; his intellect was in its fullest vigor ; and an 
abundant flow of animal spirits, a perpetual cheer- 
fulness of demeanor, rendered his companionship 
truly delightful even to the very young. 

His home-life was a tranquil one. He was in the 
daily enjoyment of many blessings, and a perennial 
stream of thankfulness flowed from his heart. He 
had seen a large family grow up at his knees — a 

2 M 



dutiful, an affectionate, a united family. No heavier 
sorrow had thrown a shadow across his threshold for 
long years, than that which all must hear who send 
forth their sons to seek their fortunes in a strange 
land. One by one his boys had received his benedic- 
tion ^nd set their faces towards the East. But there 
was abundant compensation even in this. He knew 
that his absent children were treading steadily the ap- 
pointed path ; and that distance had little weakened 
the ties which bound them to the old homestead. 
He watched from a distance the career of his five 
sons, and rejoiced in the thought that he had con- 
tributed so many good workmen to the service of 
the State. 

There were other children, too, left to brighten 
the fireside ; and there was the beloved companion 
with whom he had climbed, hand-in-hand, the hill- 
side of life. Day after day he journeyed down to 
the India House, leaving his house in Upper Port- 
land-place at an early hour of the morning, and 
returning in the afternoon but little exhausted by 
the labors of the day. He was not, as some men 
who are much engaged in public business, absorbed 
or distracted in the family circle. I have heard it 
said, that he gleamed into it like sunshine, and had 
a ready smile for the humblest of its members. He 
left the India House, with all its cares and conten- 
tions, behind him, and among his children was him- 
self a child. Yet in his very playfulness there was 
'something that inspired respect. He was dignified 



without stateliness ; and though he often unbent, he 
never descended. 

He was in the enjoyment, too, of a moderate for- 
tune — a fortune somewhat impaired by his excessive 
liberality — for he was at all times a cheerful giver, 
and there were many members of his family and 
many not of his family, who had profited largely 
by his bounty — but still sufficient for all his wants. 
With his temperate habits, his powers of self-denial, 
and his utter freedom from ostentation, he could 
have contented himself even with a humbler style 
of living ; and at one time the education and equip- 
ment of his sons, and other extraordinary items 
of expenditure, having pressed heavily upon the 
sources of his income, he had it in serious contem- 
plation to abandon his old home in Portland-place, 
and to seek elsewhere a humbler tenement. But it 
had happened that, at this juncture, his store was 
unexpectedly increased. Providence deals as largely 
in rewards and compensations as in retributions and 
revenges. To him who gives much, much often is 
given. It was meet that one whose self-denying 
generosity had been manifested so conspicuously 
throughout life — whose open hand had cheered so 
many households, should now in his turn be cheered 
by a gift as little anticipated by him as a shower of 
gold from heaven. In January, 1840, a near neigh- 
bour and a valued Mend of Mr. Tucker yMr. An- 
thony Brough — died, and bequeathed to him and 
his family legacies amounting in all to 10,QQ0J. Nor 

2 m 2 



was this the only unexpected boon that enriched 
him in his declining years. At a somewhat later 
period, Mr. Andrew Maclew, who in early life had 
known Mr. Tucker in India, bequeathed to him 
another lakh of rupees, with legacies to all his 
daughters. Neither of these gentlemen was in any 
way connected with Mr. Tucker; nor were they 
beholden to him for any especial services. In both 
instances the gift was nothing more than a spon- 
taneous tribute of respect for the character of the 

A man neither prone to avarice nor to ambition, 
nor abandoned to luxurious living, may have rejoiced 
becomingly in these good gifts of Fortune ; and, 
doubtless, they contributed to the happiness of the 
last years of Mr. Tucker’s life. It was an abiding 
source of consolation to him to think that the house 
in which he had lived a score of happy years, and in 
which some of his beloved ones had first seen the 
light, would still, when it pleased God to remove 
him from the scene of his earthly labors, continue 
to shelter those whom he saw daily assembling at 
his board, and whom daily he commended to the 
love of that kind Providence which had done such 
great things for him. His cheerfulness and loving- 
kindness, indeed, were without stint or abatement. 
Increasing years seemed only to bring increasing 
joyousnq^ of heart and increasing gaiety of manner. 
It was a calm, unclouded sunset which flushed all 
the household with light. 

Few things have furnished to the literary essayist 



pleasanter topics of discourse than the amusements 
of the wise, and there are few more delightful chap- 
ters in the biographies of the most loveable of great 
men, than those which represent the statesman or 
the philosopher, the poet or the divine, in his hours 
of relaxation. The greatest, indeed, have delighted 
in seasonable frivolities, and have come down, be- 
nignantly, from the stilts. It little matters what 
the diversion may be. It may be the flying of kites 
— or the blowing of bubbles — or the sending up of 
paper balloons — it may be a game of nine-pins or 
of push-pin — or it may be the swimming of little 
boats. No one respects a man less for these season- 
able amenities ; and every one loves him more. 
Mr. Tucker’s favorite relaxation was of a more in- 
tellectual character than any I have here indicated. 
It consisted in the composition of poetical enigmas. 
And it was by no means a selfish amusement. Tor 
he read them aloud after dinner, to the infinite 
delight of his family circle, offering a reward to the 
first of his children who succeeded in supplying the 
required solution. Many and many a happy even- 
ing was thus spent, after the severer labors of the 
day were done ; and nothing was ever more accept- 
able than the announcement that the Sphinx had 
something to reveal. Many of these enigmas were 
distinguished both by the ingenuity of the puzzle 
they contained and the elegance of the poetry which 
encased them. When in 1845-46 his quinquennial 
year of absence from the Court came round, and he 
had necessarily more leisure for the indulgence of 



this harmless humor, he made a collectiou of these 
little pieces, aud printed them for the amusement of 
his family circle and a few of his more intimate 

Though no man ever delighted more in the tran- 
quil enjoyments of Home, or hungered less after 
extraneous excitements, he was one who, using the 
World as not abusing it, neither withheld himself 
from social intercourse, nor desired to see his chil- 
dren living the life of the Recluse. But that which 
was a distinguishing feature of his social character 
was a never-failing hospitality. His doors were 
opened freely to relatives and friends without regard 
for his own personal convenience. His house, in- 
deed, was one of those elastic houses which are not 
unfitly called Family Hotels, and into which are 
sometimes crowded an assemblage of guests far 
beyond their legitimate capacity of accommodation. 
There was no sacrifice of individual comfort which 
he was not will i ng to make when there was any 
peculiar claim upon his hospitality. He converted 
his drawing-rooms into a sick- ward for the reception 
of an invalid lady whom the Faculty had pronounced 
incurable; and on another occasion received into 
his house a more perilous inmate, with only a dis- 
tant claim of consanguinity upon him. And, in 
both cases, his kindness was rewarded by the unex- 
pected recovery of his guests. 

His humanity, indeed, was in all things con- 
spicuous. He was tenderly compassionate of every 
description of human suffering, and did not, whilst 



t aking account of the more imposing misery of large 
classes of his brethren, overlook the humbler sor- 
rows of individual sufferers who shivered at his 
own door. He watched with the deepest interest 
the progress of those great social questions which 
involved the physical and moral welfare of ^ large 
masses of the working classes;* but he did not, 
whilst the cry of the Factory children was sounding 
in his ears, close his eyes to the appealing looks of 
the poor cross-sweeper who stood at the comer of 
the street. 

Upon such traits of individual character it is a 
pleasure and a privilege to dwell — but I must re- 
turn again to the India House, and revert to Mr. 
Tucker’s public career. Though he had numbered 
nearly fourscore years, he was as regular in his visits 
to Leadenhall-street as in the early days of his con- 
nexion with the Court ; and as indefatigable in his 

* The Factory question, in all its branches, especially that which related 
to the limitation of the labor of women and children, excited his compas- 
sionate sympathies in no common degree; and he was zealous in his en- 
couragement of Lord Ashley and others, who were forward at this time in 
the cause of humanity. The following letter, which he addressed to that 
nobleman, shows the deep interest which he took in the question: 

“ March 23, 1844. 

“ My he ak Lord, — I hope I may be permitted to congratulate you on the 
triumph of humanity and justice — yes, and of wisdom and policy. 

“ We may be dazzled for a season by our victories in the field, but this is 
a triumph which will be registered where the record will endure for eyer. 

« I hope that your Lordship will, by-and-by, direct your views to a quarter 
where grievous wrongs are to be redressed, and where there is a noble field 
for the exercise of those qualities which are given us for the good of man- 

“ I have the honor to be, with great esteem, 

“ Your Lordship’s most faithful, 

“ H. St.G. Tuoerb.” 



attention to business. Nor was it only the will that 
was present: The power remained with him unim- 
paired. He was as clear in all his conceptions ; as 
tenacious of all the experiences of his long life ; as 
methodical in the arrangement of his ideas ; and 
both as vigorous and as perspicuous in his diction, 
as he bad been twenty years before. Such, indeed, 
was the confidence which his colleagues reposed in 
his unimpaired administrative ability, that, at the 
age of seventy-five, he was invited by them again to 
occupy one of the Chairs. “ You will be surprised,” 
he wrote to one of his sons, on the 5th of May, 
1846, “to hear of my undertaking the office of 
Deputy-Chairman at my advanced age ; but I could 
not well avoid it ; and so far I have not experienced 
any inconvenience from my extra labors. My health 
has been mercifully preserved to me, and should I 
continue to be blessed with it for a year or two longer, 
I may hope to perform my duties efficiently.”* 

It was not without some doubt and hesitation that 
he accepted the office. But as the colleagues